The ups and downs of driving to Eagle View Elementary School aren’t just on the County Road 11 hills — traffic was backed up briefly last week from the school’s parking lot onto the highway.
Principal Dave Endicott offered reassurances that problems with traffic have been fixed. A barrier in the wrong place caused traffic to back up onto the highway one day last week.
“We were trying to avoid routing traffic through the parking lot because of some safety issues,” Endicott said. When traffic became backed up too far, the school made the decision to re-route traffic through the parking lot, creating more space off the highway for long student pick-up lines.
“We haven’t had any issues when it’s set up right,” Endicott said.
The good news with traffic this year is that students and parents are out of the parking lot by 3:10 p.m., sooner than in previous years, Endicott said.
The school sent an email notification on the status of the situation Wednesday, Sept. 12.
The email explained that closure of the west entrance to the lot was a Crow Wing County decision, and out of the school’s hands.
Construction on County Road 11 over the summer not only closed that entrance, but also shifted the right turn lane into the lot several feet farther south to improve visibility for cars exiting the lot. More pine trees will be removed from that area to further improve visibility.
“We will continue to work at this process thinking safety first and expediency second,” the email stated.
The parking lot at Pequot Lakes High School and Pequot Lakes Middle School was redesigned over the summer, forcing students and parents to re-learn how to navigate the lot. Current construction is also using some space that would otherwise be used for parking.
High school principal Chip Rankin said his only concern is parking for the roughly 120 new sophomores who could soon be driving to the school.
School liaison officer Chad Nangle monitors the parking lot almost every day.
“At this point it’s a learning curve for everybody. Everybody’s learning the ropes on parking,” Nangle said of the new lot design.
Nangle, too, said parking is an issue, but once construction is complete more parking will be available.