At Lewis and Clark Middle School, a bus fleet, emergency and public safety vehicles of all sorts, and the twice-a-day traffic generated by the parents of 930 students have presented an omnipresent challenge for Jefferson City Public Schools.
Enter Jefferson City Police Chief Roger Schroeder.
Schroeder is ordering a significant change at the hot-spot intersection of Eastland and Lewis and Clark drives, imposing one-way turns and traffic flows. The chief informed the City Council Public Safety Committee of the changes at its meeting this week.
The safety of the students was first and foremost in his decision-making, Schroeder told the committee.
Before the decision to eliminate two-way turns and traffic flow at the hectic intersection, it was one of the most challenging of all streets in and around JCPS campuses and buildings, said Kurt Mueller, safety and security coordinator for the district.
Mueller noted the chief's decision was complicated by the many players involved: the schools, the Jefferson City Police Department, the Jefferson City Fire Department, the First Student bus line and the city's Public Works Department.
Bottom line, Mueller said, is the change in traffic patterns will work to immediately improve the safety to the students, which was the chief's goal.
"Like at every campus, safety is our No. 1 priority," Mueller said. The changes will include placement of a JCPS staffer at the intersection during the morning and afternoon rush hours created as parents drop off and pick up students.
JCFD Chief Matt Schofield, at the Thursday meeting, said the movement of emergency fire apparatus in and around Lewis and Clark has long been a concern with his drivers. He agreed the change should improve the traffic flow.
Britt Smith, operations division for the city's Public Works Department, said he believes the changes can be implemented with the placement of a grouping of signs manufactured by his staff.
Mueller added, "The police department is a terrific partner with us in achieving our safety goals. Chief Schroeder, Capt. (Doug) Shoemaker and the whole department does a terrific job working with us keeping our kids safe."