According to Bridgeport officials, school traffic has been an issue for the area for some time now, as the schools continue to grow and fewer kids ride the bus.
Recently parents addressed concerns about the safety of kids who walk to school, often times in the middle of cars trying to cut through small residential streets to avoid the Johnson Avenue traffic.
“In a 45 minute time period we had over 100 cars that were traveling down Faris Avenue,“ said Jessica Isch, parent and Faris Avenue resident.
This is the concern that re-ignited the conversation about school traffic in Bridgeport. Faris Avenue is a small street off of Water Street that feeds directly into Bridgeport Middle School.
Cars began using Water Street as a cut through to avoid Johnson Avenue traffic but that traffic caused this quiet street to see hundreds of cars flood the narrow road, raising the big concern of the safety of the kids who live on that street.
“They walk to school, and they basically walk through the yards to try to avoid the cars. From 7 a.m. to 7:15 a.m., cars would fly down the street,“ explained Isch.
Parents like Isch voiced concerns to city officials and did see a quick response. Bridgeport Police Department conducted a traffic study and ultimately decided to close Water Street from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday thru Friday. Officials said if streets like Faris Avenue are flooded with school traffic, it is a major safety issue.
“That the street is completely blocked making it difficult if not impossible for emergency vehicles to get through those streets or even on to those streets for an emergency,“ said Chief John Walker, Bridgeport Police.
Officials urge that the traffic pattern is a work in progress and that different options continue to be tossed around about how to solve this problem for residents and parents.
“Adjusting the time a little bit in terms of when residents can not access that area and I think that by narrowing that window down, it will help some of the local residents or individuals that live in the neighborhoods,“ added Kim Haws, city manager.
Bridgeport officials said they want to remain as transparent as possible when it comes to this issue of school traffic. Whether its to narrow the time some side streets or closed or to come up with another solution entirely, officials said the safety of the students and residents are the main priority.