Crowdsourcing a traffic problem at high school

During the Freshman Car Wash last Saturday, multiple cars (perhaps six … I lost count) drove down Copples Lane going the wrong direction. This was a safety issue for the students who were in the street washing cars since they were not looking for drivers coming the wrong way.

To orient you, below is a map showing the high school (red marker). The road in question is labeled Copples Lane by Google Maps, but known to most as that little segment off of Providence Road that provides access to the third floor of the high school. The drivers were going south on this little segment. It is one-way going the opposite direction.

shhs-overview

Anyway, I’ve been asking around and apparently this has always been a problem and that there doesn’t seem to be a good solution. But given that it’s a school with our kids, I’m wondering if the problem might be fixable if enough parents who subscribe to this site offered the school some practical suggestions. There are several ways to improve it right now.

To get us started, here are some thoughts I’ve cooked up:

1. [10/31/2014 update: Google made the drive one-way as 10am. That was fast!] Google doesn’t show Copples Lane as one-way. This means that if people are visiting the school from points north, their phones/GPS device could direct them to turn onto Copples Lane going the wrong way. Luckily, we can fix this, I think. If you (yes you) have a second, please load up a Google map of the location (or click this), then click the little question mark toward the bottom right … then select “Report a data problem”.

Report a data problem

You’ll be asked to indicate where there’s a problem; just click somewhere on the section of Copples Lane that passes in front of the High School.

click on the map

Then tick the “One-way/two-way is incorrect” and type something like, “One way going NORTHBOUND” in the box that appears. Or perhaps, “Should be one way going NORTHBOUND”, just to be clear!

one-way going northbound

After you submit, you’ll get an email thanking you for the feedback and promising to update you when/if the map is fixed. (This won’t happen if you’re not logged into Google Account, of course.) I’m hoping that if a lot of parents submit the correction, it will get corrected faster.

2. The north entrance of Copples Lane is equipped with three (3!) DO NOT ENTER signs. In the screenshot below, only 2 are visible (the third is on the far side of the exiting SUV). These signs work for most people, but clearly not for all. My thoughts on what needs fixing are below the photograph.

north copples entrance

I think the position of the far right DO NOT ENTER sign doesn’t make sense — it’s positioned as if to say one shouldn’t enter Providence Road (and thus primes people to ignore it). What I think is missing is a NO RIGHT TURN (the graphic version) at the location of the far right DO NOT ENTER sign. Similarly, a NO LEFT TURN sign should be positioned (perhaps right before the bridge support) so that northbound Providence Road traffic can see it. It might also make sense to put up ONE WAY signs (viewable from both directions), since that’s what drivers expect on one-way streets. Finally, a WRONG WAY sign is needed closer to the school, for drivers that arrive after somehow ignoring all the other signs. Here are the signs in the rough order they should be arranged (per code, I believe):

signs

Those are all relatively easy signage fixes, though not without cost. And the school would probably need to get permission by presenting plan to local/state government representatives (road is officially school property, so perhaps some of these changes exempt?). But our kids are worth the effort and cost, I think. What would be extra nice for this location is the addition of a larger sign that said “ENTRANCE TO STRATH HAVEN HIGH SCHOOL 600 feet” (or whatever the distance actually is). And then, when they arrive at that location, an ENTRANCE sign (near the announcement board).

3. It would be great to have a little clarity on what the building address actually is. If you go to the high school website and look at the bottom of the page, the address listed is 205 S Providence Road; a web search for the high school also provides that address. But this is what you get on Google Maps for that street address:

200 South Providence Road

(That red marker is not the High School.) So if visitors coming for games are using GPS units, they won’t arrive at the school, and certainly won’t arrive where we want them to park.  I’m not sure if this is a Google data problem or a bad choice of address on the part of the school. We need an address that directs people to the south entrance of Copples Lane … at least for drop-offs. Unfortunately, I’m actually not sure what the street address should be. I’ve found that “300 S Providence Road” works rather well in Google Maps, though it might not be good in other map providers. Ideally, the school should decide that its official address is somewhere on Providence Road (or Copples Lane) and then request that street number (via Google Map, post office, etc.).  And then that address would be the address where visitors are directed to enter the building. But the school should also provide street addresses (i.e., number + street name) for where people should park (at Copples lot, Providence Road lot). All those different addresses should be clearly listed and described on the “SHHS Visitor Information” page so that athletic teams and traveling parents, etc. can find the correct location without driving around for 10 minutes … and causing traffic hazards for everyone in the process.  By the way, the visitor information page currently lists the high school address as 200 S Providence Road … that appears to be the same address as is listed for the Middle School … I have no explanation for this.

I think it would be hugely helpful if the high school could also add a high-quality map to the visitor information page, using arrows to indicate the one-way nature of Copples Lane, the entrance to Copples Lane (for dropoffs), and indicating where people should park for sporting events and such. Here’s a sample map for Red Land High School. Perhaps even formally depict the 3-lane system that maintains central flow spanned by “waiters” for drop-off/pick-up periods (not all parents figure this out by just watching). Maybe an art / computer design class could tackle this project, under the direction of the administration. In the interim, a marked-up screenshot from Google Maps would take about 30 minutes to make/upload … and would be a huge help to visitors and those new to the high school. If the map and associated addresses were really nicely done, the “SHHS Visitor Information” page would be a much-used resource sent to coaches/boosters at other schools prior to their arrival. (Might be better used if page was renamed, “Directions and Parking” … in my opinion.”)

****

So … if you have suggestions on any of the above … or have other half-baked ideas, please let somebody know ASAP. And please share this post with others who might have input. I know this situation has been there for years, but I don’t think that’s OK. Hopefully we can get these (or better) fixes in the works before the next car wash. — Colin Purrington (web person for site; dad of 2)

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Nov 8 Panther Pajama Run and Pancake Breakfast

panther-runningIf you like pancakes, running, and wearing pajamas in the middle of the day in public, please come support the WSSD Foundation at 9 am, at King Field behind SHMS.

Go to www.runtheday.com to sign up. And download/share the 2014 Panther Pajama Run Flyer (PDF) if you can. More details.
2014 Panther Pajama Run Flyer

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Student directories $10 at Homecoming game Friday

If you missed purchasing a directory at Back to School Night, there is still time.  Stop in and see Kelly Caulfield at the Band Spirit Wear Booth at the game tonigth (Oct 17).  $10 each. football-directory

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The Walking Dead starts Sunday!

Here’s the segue, with apologies: the undead plague is probably based on viruses, so please mark the start of the season (and the flu, cold, and Enterovirus 68 seasons) by sending your student in on Monday with a box of tissues or a container of ethanol-based sanitizer to the library (c/o Ms Liacouras). They can write “Team Daryl” or “Team Maggie” (or “compliments of the Jones family”) on the side with a Sharpie. Put it on their backpacks Sunday night so it won’t be forgotten during the chaos of Monday morning.

Zombie sanitizer

By the way, some links that may be of interest:

Enterovirus 68 (CDC)
Cold versus Flu (CDC)

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Oct 9 mtg on Library Resources (please bring anti-disease gifts)

The 7:00 PM Home and School meeting on Thursday will be about Library Resources available to students at Strath Haven High School. Parents should come because most of these resources hadn’t been dreamed up when you were in school, which was a long time ago, to be honest.  You’ll be a vastly better home resource if you know about all the tools, tricks, and apps.

Now about those anti-disease gifts: we would be grateful if you could bring with you a box of tissues and/or container of hand sanitizer as a present for the Library. The Library is a popular destination at school and students use large amounts tissues and sanitizer when they are available, and it is the tradition of the Home and School Association to encourage parents to donate these items. You benefit, of course, because your kid will be less likely to be home sick, missing important tests and playing Flappy Bird all day. If you can’t make the meeting but are on board with the battle against disease transmission, please send your kid in with an offering Thursday or Friday (or any day!).

tissues-hand-sanitizer

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Class pages for parents (please join!)

An important part of your child’s high school experience is the parties: Fresh/Soph Hop, Junior Prom, Prom, After Prom, etc.  These and other functions are planned by numerous parent volunteers, and still other parents spend long hours coordinating the fundraisers that help pay for the food, the decorations, and for subsidizing the tickets.

So please Join/Like the Facebook Pages/Groups below to get information about the parties (when, how to buy tickets, what students should wear, etc.) and how to participate in the fundraisers. (All these functions are separate from the SHHS Home and School Association, so if you are signed up to receive Home and School news only, you’ll be missing out on A LOT.)  Thanks!

Class of 2015 (closed Group)
Class of 2016 (Page)
Class of 2017 (open Group)
Class of 2018 (open Group)

These Pages and Groups provide an additional way for everyone to communicate, beyond the emailings from the school (usually sent via June Clifford in the Main Office) and your Grade Reps. The emails will always be important, of course, because there are many parents who do not have Facebook accounts, or who never, ever check them.

By the way, if you are one of those parents in charge of events or fundraising and want June Clifford to send out an email to all the parents in a particular grade, it is best to give her the exact wording for both the subject and the body of the message … asking her to just send a PDF will tend to get a low level of readers (it might get bundled with 5 other fundraisers).

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 2.36.27 PM

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Score a Directory at the football game

If you didn’t buy a SHHS Student Directory at Back to School Night, they will be for sale ($10) at the next two football games: Sept 26 (7:30pm, vs Upper Darby) and Oct 2 (7:00pm, vs Springfield). Talk to Kelly Caulfield at the Band Spirit Wear booth. In related news, a huge thanks to Kelly Caulfield. And, of course, Go Panthers!

football-directory

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