PRINEVILLE, Ore. - The reopening of Crooked River Elementary School in Prineville is causing an unexpected traffic problem.
"When we decided the new Crooked River Elementary School traffic flow, we didn't anticipate that we would have as much exit back into Second Street and Knowledge Street as we have,” Crook County School Board Chair Doug Smith said Friday.
"Now we have not only students walking more than we though we would, but we've also got two parking lots being used at an intersection that we didn't think we'd have,” he said.
The intersection of SE Second Street and the Ward Rhoden Stadium entrance fills with bumper-to-bumper traffic when schools let out around 3 p.m.
"It's just packed," said Jaid Miles, a seventh-grader at Crook County Middle School. "Buses are trying to get through, cars are trying to get through and everyone, they have to go slow. It's just congested in here.”
Having three schools in close proximity adds to the problem.
"You could have parents that are picking up from all three schools,” Smith said, “students from the high school walking over to get younger brothers and sisters at either one of these schools, and there's a considerable amount of traffic on Knowledge (Street) where it connects all three schools.”
Officials are in an ongoing discussion about solutions and a temporary safety fix is in place.
"We've approved hiring three crossing guards," Smith said. "That’s in process. And later this week, we'll have those in place, to make sure our students can get through here safely.”
Over the summer, Smith said, the district will start work on a permanent solution, and it's asking for the public to contact school officials or attend a school board meeting to offer their input or suggestions.