The Canal Winchester Times

Groveport Madison

District bracing for traffic jams at high school

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The road leading to Groveport Madison High School, 4475 S. Hamilton Road, may resemble rush-hour traffic heading into Columbus when classes resume Monday, Aug. 19.

Approximately 1,660 students will be forced to find their own way to and from school since high school busing was eliminated in May as a result of budget cuts.

Dean of Students Richard Playko presented a drawing to the board of education at its Aug. 8 meeting showing how he hopes traffic will flow when students are dropped off and picked up.

The plan was developed by representatives from the school district, the Groveport Police Department, Madison Township Police Department, Obetz Police Department and Columbus Metro Parks, he said.

When school resumes, Playko told the board that approximately eight people, including law enforcement officers, will be outside of the high school, directing traffic.

"It's all new territory, so we're going to observe and see what happens," he said.

Based on how traffic flows or slows, Playko said adjustments will be made the next day or even later in the year, depending on changes in the weather and time.

Superintendent Bruce Hoover said the guidance department is trying to set up carpools in neighborhoods to help ease traffic congestion.

According to the drop-off guide, there will be three drop-off lanes for use once vehicles turn off Hamilton Road onto school property. Vehicles leaving the parking lot will be separated into either a northbound or southbound lane back onto Hamilton.

Parents and students are asked not to use Eastland Career Center's parking lot or Hamilton Road as drop-off locations.

Hoover told the board that the Central Ohio Transit Authority does provide some routes to the school for a fee, but the ride is a long one. He has asked COTA to consider adding at least two additional routes along Gender and Refugee roads to accommodate Groveport High School students.

Hoover said COTA is reviewing the "economic sustainability" and grant assistance for the additional routes, but they will not be available when school begins.

Since some students are expected to bike along the very busy Hamilton Road to school, the district is setting up extra racks to secure their bikes.

Students at the high school are not the only ones who lost transportation this school year.

Elementary and middle school students who live within a two-mile radius of their schools must now walk to class.

In past years, students in grades K-8 only had to hoof it when they lived within a one-mile radius of their schools.

Several parents at a recent board meeting expressed concern over the new walking policy for younger students.

Lisa Dickerson, who has two elementary-age students and one middle school child, asked board members to "show your youngest students your compassion by reversing this decision."

"I do not feel the board and the superintendent have placed the safety of the students first," she said.

In addition to eliminating busing at the high school and establishing a new two-mile rule for walkers, other budget actions taken in May included redistricting, repurposing buildings, cutting 10 positions and reorganizing extracurricular programs.

Treasurer Anthony Swartz said once the school year begins, officials will review the impact of the cuts.

"One of the big things coming up is to see the price tag and how we did in comparison to what we cut," he said.

The board also approved new start and end times for the school year.

Students at the high school and each of the three middle schools will begin their day at 7:15 a.m. and end at 2:10 p.m.

Dunloe, Madison and Glendening elementary schools will start classes at 7:55 a.m. and finish at 2:50 p.m. while Asbury, Groveport and Sedalia elementary schools will start at 8:35 a.m. and dismiss at 3:30 p.m.

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