Why West Needs to Change its Pick Up and Drop Off Situation

Isabella Rodriguez

At West, I’m used to being dropped off at the front entrance: closest to where you see the Capitol building. And, to put it bluntly, drop-off is often a trainwreck—not just in the mornings, but after school as well.

Issues with dropping off students seem to stem from a couple of factors. First, the drop-off area gets crowded very quickly, blocking the road for other cars and trucks. This means that people go in wherever there’s space to get in, blocking other people who are trying to get out. Finally, everyone is trying to arrive and leave at the same time. You can see where the disaster starts to kick in.

But West isn’t the biggest problem here. Instead, Utah drivers are the root of it all. According to Deseret News, Utah drivers are some of the worst drivers in the U.S. The main culprits of this horrifying statistic are lack of using indicators, traffic congestion, and of course, phone usage.

The number of times I’ve witnessed cars merge without using their turn signal has me amazed that I haven’t witnessed an accident yet. Not only that, but I’ve often looked out of my bus window to see adults with their eyes glued to their phones at red lights. Spoiler alert: all of that is illegal. But in Salt Lake, it all seems completely normal.

I sent out a Google Form to the faculty at West to ask them about their experiences with traffic at West. I got a mix of two different responses. (1.) It’s not that bad. And (2.) It’s absolutely horrible.

Band teacher Ms. Blodgett wrote, “People are waiting too long to get to school. It’s logistically impossible to get everyone in the building between 8:40-8:45.” Another teacher, Ms. Hollenback, said, “Parents don’t have a place they can park safely, so they infringe on the faculty parking lot on the North side. I’ve seen parents parking in the faculty parking lot, making it congested and challenging to exit the lot safely.” Ms. King also responded and said that “Most students are not within walking distance.  Students arrive by bus, drive themselves, or rely on family to get them to school. This creates a lot of traffic.”

After hearing the opinions of various teachers here at West, here’s a list of changes that can and should be made at school so traffic flows smoothly, and no one is at risk of getting into an accident.

  • Move the pick-up and drop-off area to 400 West to avoid cars being in the moving lanes.
  • Make sure the faculty parking lot isn’t accessible to parents and students.
  • Supervision of the student parking lots.
  • Make sure the student drop-off area is marked out and monitored.
  • Have someone direct the traffic flow in the pick-up and drop-off areas.  

Finally, the last thing everyone should consider is enforcement. Hoping that things change for the sake of everyone’s safety is one thing, but making sure they actually do is another. According to Ms. Draper, ”Enforcement is one of the only ways to get people to understand the dangerous situation that they are creating by not following traffic laws,” and I couldn’t have said it better myself.