First Test For New Washington Street Traffic PatternPosted: Updated:
It's the first day of school for most students at Watertown City Schools and the first test of a new traffic pattern on Washington Street.
School started Wednesday for students in the first through ninth grades.
The Washington Street lanes were reduced from four to two, with a turn lane in the middle.
Lane reductions like that are known as "road diets."
The change was made over the summer to make it safer for students crossing the road.
Watertown Superintendent Patti LaBarr said Wednesday morning went remarkably well with the road change, but Thursday will be the real test.
"This morning we only have our seventh, eighth, and ninth graders, so tomorrow we bring in our 10th through 12th graders, and that includes all of our student drivers," she said, "so tomorrow may be a little bit different for us, but it was a nice soft landing with the road diet this morning and things seemed to go very, very well."
Shane Ryan, the resource officer at Watertown schools, said while the day went well, city police did issue a handful of tickets to drivers passing through the school zone, which is typical for early in the school year.
"We put extra officers on the first few weeks of school just to enforce the speed zones and keep the kids safe," he said.
City police will have five or so patrol vehicles in school zones over the next few weeks.
Aside from a new traffic pattern on Washington Street, the school district also made a few changes to how traffic flows on the school campus as well.
Parents bringing students to Case Middle School must leave kids on the south side of Green Street.
High school students will be dropped off in the south side parking lot.
All bus drop-offs will be in between the middle and high schools.