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Newton-Conover City Schools Superintendent Dr. Barry Redmond estimated South Newton Elementary could cut their car-rider loading time in half one week after the first day of school.
He was right.
On the first day of school last week, it took 28 minutes for South Newton’s 200 car riders to get picked up from school using the school’s newly implemented traffic pattern. On Thursday, it took exactly 14 minutes.
“Changing the traffic pattern is much safer this way,” said Sylvia White, NCCS personnel director. “It’s just going to take some time.”
For Bonnie Galeana, mother of a fourth grader at South Newton, the new traffic pattern is a welcome change.
“It’s not jammed up to (U.S.) 321 anymore,” she said. “It’s going much quicker.”
The new pattern requires parents to line up along South Cline Avenue, instead of along U.S. 321. The long line of parents waiting on U.S. 321 to pickup and drop off their children caused traffic congestion and had the potential to cause traffic accidents.
Evaleene Fowler, who works as the crossing guard for South Newton, said the new pattern is much safer.
“I don’t have to step out on the highway anymore,” she said. “I couldn’t handle 100 cars all by myself. This is a much better source.”
Prior to the new traffic pattern, Fowler directed traffic on U.S. 321 into the school. Now, cars aren’t allowed to turn onto South I Street by the school from U.S. 321. They are required to line up on South Cline Avenue.
But all the kinks aren’t worked out of the new pattern.
Hope Pennell, a mother of a South Newton kindergartener and Newton-Conover Rescue Squad member, worries that a car will hit a pedestrian crossing the street.
“Parents park and walk instead of getting in the line,” she said. “A lot of them are coming across the road and they could get hit. I’m afraid I’ll have to respond to (an emergency) call here while I’m waiting in line.”