Traffic Problems Going on at CHS


The infamous MLK traffic loop on the side of CHS where cars come in and out every morning before school and in the afternoon after school.

Mariette Hollins and Caldwell Boyles

As we’ve started up the new school year, it has become obvious that the traffic around CHS has been extensive due to  the new construction on the Melbourne Avenue bridge. However, the bridge is said to be finished by next week! Last year, there weren’t many problems despite the shortage of buses, and as Dr. Irizarry said, “Last year we didn’t have any traffic problems because people were coming in at half capacity, the bridge issue wasn’t a problem, and a third of the cars were coming in.” Directional Services Inc. and the City of Charlottesville have been trying to work on fixing the bridge (because it was poorly-made, priorly-skinny, and unsafe), starting in early June of 2021, however, it has taken them longer than expected. Dr.Irizarry, and school board members, have stressed that they did not think the bridge would take this long to fix. Both students and parents have observed traffic getting severely backed up in the morning before school, as well as in the evening right after school. Because people cannot turn left onto Melbourne, there are less buses to transport kids to and from school, and the roads around CHS can get congested. 

Because of this, a large group of kids report being late to school or to after-school activities, as recent studies and surveys have shown. When describing the traffic routes to and from school, senior Miles Kershner stated, “It’s not the traffic routes that are the problem, we just don’t have enough buses so more people have to take cars which causes traffic. But the construction on Melbourne isn’t helping either.” Many other students complain that their schedule has been affected, and even more kids have reported being late.

But, after talking with Dr.Irizarry himself, he reported that the staff at CHS don’t have complete control outside of school boundaries. The staff also weren’t told by the City about updates with the bridge, for they do not know much of the situation, and that has made it difficult to determine when it will be finished and safe to drive on. “We can only control the traffic in CHS’s boundaries, and only CHS staff are able to direct traffic. And because we have to request police officers and we don’t have them anymore (and that takes time and patience, especially for a somewhat-simple task), we have to see where everything rolls out.” Another big issue  that students and parents have been struggling with, is the amount of buses available for city schools. However, according to Dr.Irizarry, “We have 10 buses right now, meaning we are only missing three. We should expect to get these buses in the next month.”

As for solutions to the traffic problems, many say that more kids should bike, walk, scooter, or skate to school if they live close enough. But,even this might not completely help with the backup. People on the school board, as well as Dr.Irizarry, think it would be most helpful for students to walk, ride, skate, or even get dropped off  somewhere in the neighborhood or The Y. It makes it much easier on everyone, even if it’s one less car coming through the circle. One student talks about how the problem could be solved, “More buses is the big one,I know it’s hard to find drivers, and the situation won’t really improve until they fix that bridge.” This is a very universal idea throughout the student body, mainly stressing the main points of bus problems, bridge problems, walkers, and the ability to turn left on Melbourne Ave on the way to school. However, because the bridge is supposed to be finished next week, and because we are supposed to find the last three buses in the next month, these problems should be solved very soon.