When hundreds of parents try to drop their children off at school at the same time, there are bound to be problems.
“Fender benders, yelling matches and arriving at school a half hour before pick up” are all common occurrences at , says Katie Aaron, a Napa mother of two.
Even before school starts, parents at and were warned about the notoriously bad traffic situation at the shared middle-school campus on Old Sonoma Road.
Fliers declaring “Traffic flow will be a problem…if we don’t all work together,” along with detailed maps and directions, give parents multiple alternatives to pulling into the gridlocked parking lot.
Other Napa schools are using different ways to try to minimize the inevitable traffic madness.
At , the traffic situation is “organized chaos,” said Principal Julie Herdell.
“Most kids walk to school because they live in the neighborhood. There aren’t as many cars as there could be,” Herdell said.
Still, Herdell also utilizes the Safe Routes to School program to inform all members of the school community – both kids and parents - about traffic safety.
And when necessary, she calls on the .
“Just the presence of a black and white police car will remind people to slow down,” Herdell said.
Some Napa parents are even taking it upon themselves to help out with school traffic.
parent Melanie Blackmon said she was “sick of seeing people drop their kids off in the red zone.”
“Rather than just complaining about it, I decided to do something,” she said.
In the mornings, Blackmon can be seen in the front of the school, guiding drivers to the front of the drop off zone.
“Some people just need to be reminded what the rules are,” Blackmon said.
Other Napa parents agree that following the rules and being considerate of other drivers is the key.
“Let people in when they are trying to merge back into traffic after being parked,” advises mom Heidi Funseth.
mom Jen Philips concurs: She says drivers should find out exactly what the rules are around pick up and drop off at the school, and “stick to them!”
“If they don't allow a left-turn from the south, don't turn left from the south. If they want you show a sign in your car with your child's name on it, show the sign. And of course, as always in life, just relax and try not to stress!” Philips said.
Renee Fannin, parent of two and owner of the , takes a humorous approach to school traffic.
“I think when drivers have a dispute, they should have to get out of their car and play 'Ro Sham Bo' to see who goes first,” said Fannin.