CPD Lt. Jeff Warnke, left, Officer Rodney Banister, center, and CPD Chief Kenny Culpepper demonstrate how the cones will be set up during school hours. / W.C. Mann
CULLMAN – The start of a new school year brings a fair amount of confusion, especially when it comes to school traffic. Until parents find their own comfortable routine, morning drop-off areas tend to be chaotic and crowded. To help combat traffic congestion around Cullman Middle School, Primary School and High School, which has been a problem in recent years, the Cullman Police Department worked together with the city schools and a city traffic engineer to design new routes for parents dropping off their children.
The project was the subject of a meeting held by Chief Kenny Culpepper Wednesday morning, during which he went over some of the areas that will likely pose more problems. Culpepper says each of the three schools in the affected area will have an officer present at its open house to explain the traffic flow changes, and that during the first few weeks of the new school year, pairs of officers will be stationed at each affected school intersection to answer questions from drivers and direct traffic if necessary.
The open house schedules for Cullman City Schools are as follows:
Thursday, August 3:
Cullman Middle School, 5 p.m.
Friday, August 4:
Cullman City Primary School
– Kindergarten, 4 p.m.
– First grade, 5 p.m.
Monday, August 7:
East Elementary, 4-6 p.m. (not affected)
West Elementary, 5-7 p.m. (not affected)
Cullman High School, 6-8 p.m.
Several people present at Wednesday’s meeting anticipated negative reactions over the changes, especially one near the middle school. Drivers traveling south on Second Avenue will no longer be able to turn left onto Oak Drive in order to drop their students off in the circle, which ends up causing congestion with drivers going north on Second and turning right; instead, they must turn left onto Ninth Street and drop their kids off in the designated drop-off zones.
Additionally, drivers will no longer be able to turn left off of Third Avenue onto Oak Drive during school hours.
Although several restrictions are being set up on where drivers can go, the police are also setting up cones and barricades to ensure one-way traffic flow on certain streets in order for cars to use every lane instead of just the ones on the right side of the road. They plan to have the barricades set up each morning by 7:15, and will take them down after the drop-off hours are over. Furthermore, afternoon pick-up will not be affected by any of the morning changes.
The presentation included updated directions for drivers going to the primary, middle and high schools depending on which direction they are traveling:
To primary school
-From Childhaven or Eva Roads: turn left onto 13th St., right onto Stadium Drive, then left onto Hoehn Drive
-From Hwy 278: travel north on Fourth Ave. NE, turn right onto Oak Drive, left onto Stadium Drive, then right onto Hoehn Drive
-From Convent Rd.: travel west on Oak Drive, turn right onto Stadium Drive, then right onto Hoehn Drive.
-From Hwy 31: travel east on Eighth St., turn left onto Second Ave., right onto 13th St., right onto Stadium Drive, then left onto Hoehn Drive.
To middle school
-From Childhaven Road: travel south on Second Avenue, turn left onto Ninth St., drop kids off at Ninth St. side
-From Hwy 278: travel north on Second Avenue, turn right onto Oak Drive, then left into CMS circle (pull up as far as possible before stopping)
-From Convent Road: travel west on Oak Drive, turn left onto Hoeppner Lane, right onto Elizabeth St., right onto Second Avenue, right onto Oak Drive, then left into CMS circle (pull up as far as possible before stopping)
-From Hwy 31: travel east on Eighth St., turn left onto Second Avenue, then right onto Ninth St.
To high school
-From Childhaven or Eva Roads: turn left onto 13th St. and right onto Stadium Drive.
-From Hwy 278: travel north on Third Avenue NE, turn right onto Oak Drive, left onto Fourth Avenue NE, right onto 13th St., then right onto Stadium Drive.
-From Convent Road: travel west on Oak Drive and turn right onto Stadium Drive.
-From Hwy 31: travel east on Eighth St., turn left onto Second Avenue, right onto 13th St., then right onto Stadium Drive.
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