Traffic nightmare

As more students return to school, more cars fill the parking lots


All in red – traffic often backs up almost two blocks away on an average morning before school

Heart pumping as you are waiting at a red light, tears about to flood your face if one more minute passes by. Running late is a horrid experience, yet none quite compare to running late for school. It seems that the more you try and hurry to school, the more red lights you hit, and the nightmare begins.

Within the past week as students are beginning to return to campus in person, the traffic surrounding Santa Margarita’s campus has increased seemingly 10-fold, leading to the inevitable: being late for school.

However, students returning to school is not the problem. We have had over 1,600 students come in and out of campus every single day for decades, so why is there so much traffic this year? The root of the problem finds itself on two main issues: rearrangement and experience.

This year most parents, if not all, have opted to drop their students off through the front lot and main entrance to the school. Because of this, a bottleneck has occurred at the “Eagle Way” and “Antonio” light forcing traffic jams past the “Via Honesto” intersection when traveling North on Antonio (refer to red marks on the image to the right).

Also, with the advent of a new layout to the traffic flow, students wishing to leave the front lot after school are having a difficult time. Rather than being able to leave through the main exit and side gate, everyone is forced to exit only through the side gate, once again creating a bottleneck.

Senior Alice Lee elaborates on her parking experiences over the past week. “I used to think I struck gold when being chosen for a front lot pass, but now I am stuck for many light cycles to simply enter school and now even longer when leaving… I wish the traffic flow were the same layout as last year… that was perfect.”

This leads to the other root of the issue: experience. With many students not being at school and interacting with front lot traffic for over a year, many do not know the ins and outs of parking in the front lot, which creates backups and long waits.

However, what is more important to note is that almost no parents have experience with the traffic flow. Since those students being driven are often freshman and sophomores, these underclassmen parents were thrown into the madness of the front lot for probably the first time ever, or at least the first time in over a year, during these past two weeks, causing confusion and backups.

Now, as with any situation, SM families are adaptable, and we will see this resilience and adaptation shine in the upcoming weeks. Hopefully, with a few more days going in and out of the front lot under everyone’s belt, we will be able to not create as many bottlenecks. Better yet, hopefully we can transition back to the tried and true old traffic flow, so the average student won’t be worried about arriving late to school…or being stuck for ages after the bell rings.