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Lane dividers prevent parents from making left turn leaving Mill Creek Elementary School

EDITOR'S NOTE: A misspelled name has been corrected.


The City of Columbia has added delineators to South Sinclair Road outside of Mill Creek Elementary School.

The dividers were installed on Monday, according to Columbia Public Works spokesperson John Ogan. Ogan said the City worked with the school and CPS at the request of the school district.

Columbia Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said the addition was done to prevent traffic jams and backups on Sinclair.

"As more parents drive their children to and from school, we've had some issues with traffic backing up because of the number of cars," Baumstark said. "The entrance/exits are very close to the round-a-bout at the school which causes traffic flow issues during drop off and dismissal."

Baumstark said the district is trying to redirect left turns out to keep cars from blocking the entrance and disrupting the flow into the round-a-bout.

"What was happening was vehicles were turning left out of the driveway, and it was hard for motorists to make that movement after school," Ogan said. "Because their cars were stacking up, trying to turn left."

Mill Creek Elementary School Principal Tabetha Rawlings said she didn't know the dividers were going up so quickly.

"We didn't have any heads up," Rawlings said. "We figured it would take probably until at least summertime. So, we were just as surprised as our parents to have all of this on Monday."

Rawlings said she did not know that the dividers were being installed until she arrived at the school on Sunday. She said she had the assistant principal send a parent link to notify parents as soon as she saw them.

"We always pride ourselves on communicating in a timely manner, but this one just got away from us, and the city was too fast," Rawlings said.

Rawlings added that the school along with the school board had been "brainstorming solutions to try to find a way to expedite this traffic flow," stating that they used the dividers at Rockbridge as inspiration.

Since the installation, Rawlings said parents have had mixed reactions. Some have been flipping around in the adjacent parking lot, which Rowling asks parents not to do, and others flipping around the dividers themselves.

The school has a pickup lane that loops to the front of the building. While leaving the lane, parents will now have to turn right on Sinclair Road.

Rawlings said the school has received a lot of few emails from frustrated parents.

"Everyone has really been kind of polite about it, but I do understand if you're going right down there, you want to turn left," Rawlings said.

Rowling said she has seen traffic jams decrease and that the pickup line did move faster since the addition.

"Just please be patient with us and please make sure you don't do U-turns here or try to turn around," Rawlings said.

Rawlings added the school is going to see if the dividers work over the next few months, but added that if they don't they will look at other options.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia Public Schools

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Marina Diaz

Marina is a Multimedia Journalist for ABC 17 News, she is originally from Denver, Colorado. She went to Missouri Valley College where she played lacrosse and basketball, and anchored her school’s newscast.


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