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Letter: School traffic severely impedes area transportation

Posted: January 18, 2018 3:34 p.m.
Updated: January 19, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Obviously, educating the public and especially our children is probably the most important function of society.

Before retiring and moving back to South Carolina (the state where both my wife and I grew up) 12 years ago, we lived in the metropolitan area of two major cities, north and south. And never before have I seen local transportation as severely tied up by school traffic as it is in Kershaw County. The impact on personal work schedules, wasted time, lost productivity, wasted gasoline and increased pollution is large, I’m sure!

I believe the basic issue has at least two root causes: inadequate school planning and inadequate highway planning. I’m sure parents play a role, also, in not having their kids ride the school bus. I associate it with school planning, because a majority of the major schools are located on major roadways in Kershaw County, and they lack the infrastructure to deal with the traffic. I associate it with highway planning because the highways are inadequately designed for the school traffic, with single traffic lanes, no turn lanes and no center lanes. Of course, we are all aware of the pathetic situation regarding South Carolina highways.

The evidence is the tremendous number of cars congesting the inadequate school property traffic lanes (inadequate school planning) and the adjoining highways (inadequate highway planning). And lo and behold, when you get behind a school bus in Kershaw County, which you will, you’d better have a lot of patience. They stop on the major highways, very often at single houses and even developments to let off very few kids. And they seem to sit there forever (I’ve heard the driver has to do paperwork) before proceeding.

Just outside the city limits of Elgin, the school bus is allowed to stop on U.S. 1 at an apartment complex to pick up and discharge a couple of students, at peak traffic times. Is there some school policy or law against the bus being able to use the apartment property for this purpose? If so, changes should be made. Of course, the ensuing problem would be, with no turn or center lane on U.S. 1, it would take the bus a long time to re-enter traffic. And why can’t the buses enter short streets or small developments to discharge the students rather than on the highway?

Of course, the above suggestions would mean that the kids would be on the bus longer and that maybe the bus drivers would have to be paid additional money for longer workdays. Seems like much less of an impact to society than the present situation.


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