As the South Asheville area continues to grow, traffic issues among the four schools located on Long Shoals and Overlook Road have grown as well.
Because Estes Elementary, Koontz Intermediate, Valley Springs Middle, and Roberson are located within a one-mile radius and begin within ten minutes of each other, some discussion has been started about moving Roberson’s start time back beginning next year.
Traffic issues are impacting students, teachers and parents because of the amount of time it takes them to travel to school in the morning. Dance teacher MaryAnn Osby said she often struggles in the morning to arrive to school on time.
“It’s very frustrating. You never know whether you should leave early or later or somewhere in between. The problem with the traffic is bad planning,” Osby said.
The start time of Roberson could potentially be pushed back ten minutes to 8:05 am with the day ending at 3:10 p.m. for seniors and 3:13 p.m. for underclassmen to help traffic problems. Principal Bonnie Johnston stressed the fact that the length of the school day would not change, but the start and end times would simply be pushed back.
If this shift were to be implemented, morning bus route pick up times would likely continue to remain the same because of students needing to transfer to one of the surrounding non-traditional schools.
Roberson is used as a meeting point for students in the district who attend Nesbitt Discovery Academy and Early College. If Roberson’s morning bus times were pushed back, it would consequently affect the time the buses heading to Nesbitt and Early College would leave. .
“I don’t know if we would be able to move our bus schedules a lot, so we would probably have to continue our bus schedules at the same time but we could still start school a little bit later,” said bus administrator Bobby Parker.
The afternoon bus route times, however, would be changed if the morning start time is delayed due to the later student dismissal. The later dismissal time in the afternoon might help those buses coming from the non-traditional schools.
“When they come back it’s about right at 3:00 pm, so they come in and get ready to role. It wouldn’t affect us, but it would probably be easier on us,” Parker said.
Some parents of Roberson students have found it easier to drop their children off at Pinchot Drive at the entrance of Biltmore Park in the mornings. Sophomore Emma Hodes now has to walk to and from school each day rather than going through the car rider lane because of increase in heavy traffic.
“I have to leave my house about 7 o’clock in the morning so I don’t get stuck in traffic. I used to be a car rider last year, but now my mom drops me off at Estes and I walk to TC,” Hodes said.
Students, like sophomore Madison Bode, who have younger siblings attending nearby schools often experience traffic issues as an increasing problem in the morning.
“The traffic is definitely a big issue for me getting to school on time because I leave around 7:15 am and I don’t get to school until right before the bell rings. I have to drop my brother off at Koontz then go through the traffic then through the car rider lane,” Bode said.
Traffic issues are continuing to grow as a problem for the Roberson district. A potential push back of Roberson’s school time could help eliminate traffic issues in the next school year.