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Backup on US23 greenhills drive

Construction on surrounding roads leads to traffic increase near Greenhills
Backup on US23 greenhills drive
Megan Peng

You missed your alarm! Now you only have twenty minutes to get up, get dressed, brush your teeth and get out of the house to make it to school. On top of that it is a race against time to beat the traffic generated by neighboring schools and secure a spot in the parking lot. This is the new routine of the average Greenhills kid. 

Due to the combination of the Geddes Road to Greenhills project and the Greenhills Drive to US-23 project there has been an increase in traffic around Greenhills. The new single project is the entire length of Earhart Road. According to the city the main focus of the project is to improve broken down pavement and upgrade parts of the​ stormwater system. This requires Earhart to temporarily turn into a one way street. The benefits of this project will be the addition of three mini roundabouts to slow down cars, smoother pavement, new sidewalks, a stronger stormwater system, and the installation of bike lanes. While the construction will bring many safety benefits, some Greenhills families and faculty were distraught with the work starting so close to the beginning of the school year. 

“This is the city’s construction so Greenhills did not have a say for when the work would begin, we were originally told it was starting right after this past school year ended,” said chief financial officer John Nickle. “However it never did and then we got notices that kept pushing the date further back. Finally the city said construction would start on Aug. 7, basically right when classes start, which was frustrating to hear.” 

 

To assist Greenhills parents and student drivers with the new issue of construction there was an Eforum email detailing how to deal with the traffic. The email provided a mapped detour, the best time to arrive at Greenhills, and information surrounding the addition of the shuttle bus. There was also a shift to the middle school after school sports schedule, to spread out pick up times middle schoolers now start during C&C time. During the first week of school Nickel got a lot of feedback from parents surrounding the construction. Thus Nickel and director of operations Ken Geremia flew a drone over the campus to find the most prominent “choke point.” Choke points are areas where the traffic is creating the largest problem and slowing down drivers. The biggest choke point was on Greenhills drive exiting onto Earhart northbound. They alerted the city of their findings and got a temporary stop sign installed to allow for better flow of traffic. Members of Greenhills administration have been posted in the middle school parking lot helping to make sure traffic flows smoothly.

Brian Magnus ‘27 hasn’t noticed much of a change in his schedule before school but has noticed the change when he leaves school. Magnus rides with his brother to school but gets picked up or takes the shuttle to get home. Magnus’ schedule has only been affected once by the shuttle. 

“One time a student said he was supposed to be on the shuttle but then he ended up getting picked up by his parents,” said Magnus. “But one of his friends on the shuttle said he was missing and we had to turn around and go all the way back to Greenhills, that day I didn’t get home until 4:30 p.m and then I had to rush to swim practice at 5 p.m.”

The idea of the shuttle bus was mentioned in an administrator meeting last Spring. Geremia reached out to numerous bus companies in the nearby area to see if the shuttle would be possible. The shuttle tends to drive upwards of 20 kids in the morning to school and seven kids in the afternoon, the significant decrease is due to after-school activities. The system is currently not run by Greenhills but by the bus company and the drivers. However, Geremias’ end goal is to make it a total Greenhills entity. 

If it continues, our hope would be that we could use one of our vehicles and run multiple shifts after school dismissal from 3:30 to 4:30,” said Geremia. “It would make as many loops as it can to the commuter lot during that time.”

While a number of students take the shuttle a majority of the high school students do not. Drivers like Nicole Zhong ‘24 have felt a large change to their schedules. 

Zhong lives in Northville which means before the construction it would take her 25 minutes to get to school. However, the new traffic delays have been unpredictable causing her to leave 50 minutes early to get to school on time. When it is time to leave school she hustles to beat the combination of both Greenhills and surrounding schools after school traffic.

“It definitely is a change from last year when I always knew I would arrive by 8:10 a.m everyday,” said Zhong. “Even when I leave my house early I still get stuck in the traffic and it is so annoying to keep making loops through both parking lots and then have to park on the street.”

While Zhong believes Greenhills has been doing their best to maintain traffic flow she has some suggestions for making the drop off process smoother on the middle school side of the school. 

“For the traffic issue they could require middle school parents to drop off their kids earlier, or have a cutoff time and then have a different time slot for highschoolers,” said Zhong. 

 

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