Lanes of Progress. City of Parkland plans to make road improvements along Holmberg Road. The main change is a turning lane into the senior parking lot’s main entrance, which would improve traffic by differentiating MSD traffic and passing vehicles. Schematic courtesy of the Florida Department of Transportation

End of the Road(blocks)

November 3, 2021

Due to the severity of the situation and the frustration it causes, many have proposed solutions to alleviate the traffic problems around campus. There are a variety of ideas put forward. Several survey respondents suggested making a second car line, which would obviously need to be constructed, but would theoretically move things twice as fast.

A proposed solution held by various students and staff members is to simply space out when cars begin arriving to campus. 

“The biggest thing for me is just having people come earlier. Everyone seems to like to show up at 7:25 [a.m.,] and it’s going to back traffic up,” Milmed said.

By more evenly dividing when parents are dropping off and even picking up their students, there would be less of a buildup spiking at specific times right before and after the school day. 

Some propose having more organization and structure to the drop-off and dismissal systems. 

“They should have more organization, like one of the gates should be for people going to the right and one for people going to the left,” Har-Nov said.

About 60% of seniors say the police officer directing traffic out of the senior lot has decreased traffic, but the other 40% report increased traffic at that particular junction. Numerous survey respondents recommended simply better systems in place to manage traffic, whether that be through increased BSO officers, school security workers and crossing guards controlling traffic or structured timing with car line, the senior lot and bus loop.

As for the junior lot, the issue of parents picking their children up after school upsets the many students that park there, who want a ban enforced on non-students being in the lot during dismissal times.

“There should be some sort of restriction on parents of underclassmen picking their children up [in the junior lot,] [they should] pick their kids up in the car line where they’re supposed to,” Reiss said.

However, another mentality shared by MSD staff and students is one of submission. They reason there are simply too many factors to handle when it comes to MSD’s transportation, so it would just be easier to get used to the gridlock rather than fight it.

“I don’t think there is a way to alleviate traffic. The reason for the traffic is overpopulation in our school,” Velez said. 

On Thursday, Sept. 30, both a virtual and in-person meeting were held at the City of Parkland Library by the fourth district for the Florida Department of Transportation to review a proposal, contract T4602, to improve Holmberg Road. This would be done by repainting bike lanes, repaving the street and upgrading signs and street markings. Additionally, a right-hand turning lane for the central entrance to the senior lot would be constructed, allowing seniors (and perhaps parents who wait on Holmberg Road after school) to be out of the way of general traffic.

“[The City of Parkland] submitted an application to the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization. Back in 2016 Parkland had proposed this, and the DOT is doing the project on behalf of the city. We expect it to start construction next summer,” FDOT district project manager Brad Salisbury said.

Determined Detour. Holmberg Road will be partially closed during the summer of 2022 to complete construction of the new turning lane and to minimally affect traffic during the school year. Schematic courtesy of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

The improvement project is estimated to cost $600,000 and will be finished in the fall of 2022, barring any construction delays. This timeline was chosen to minimally disrupt road usage during the school year.

Currently, the traffic caused at and around MSD is at a standstill. Unable to make substantial changes to school start and end times, road expansions and employment of bus drivers, MSD administration is only able to continue the current measures already in place. For the safety of students and overall improvement of transportation efficiency, one must hope significant fixes are made to alleviate what many consider to be a traffic disaster. 

This story was originally published in the October 2021 Eagle Eye print edition. 

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