New traffic pattern to greet Hinsdale District 86 students
Construction workers outside the east, or pool, entrance at Hinsdale Central High School less than two weeks before school starts Aug. 22. | Kimberly Fornek~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 17, 2012 11:49AM
HINSDALE — As students in Hinsdale High School District 86 return to school, one result of the summer renovations that probably will thrill parents even more than students are the new drop-off areas.
At Hinsdale Central, the school bus parking area has been moved to the south side of the campus, west of the baseball diamond.
“I think this is going to be a big improvement,” said Kristen Klebenow, whose son is a sophomore.
Previously, parents had to maneuver around buses in the front lot along 55th Street, which created backups on 55th, as well as on Grant Street, going south.
“It was crazy because of all the buses,” Klebenow said. “It was just too congested.”
Students can still be dropped off in front, but once the student gets out, the driver must turn right on Grant. Someone who wants to get back to westbound 55th has to circle around the campus, via 57th Street and then north on Madison Street.
With the old configuration, cars would be bumper-to-bumper on that route during the crunch time of 7:45 a.m. to 8 a.m., parents said.
“It would take me 30 to 45 minutes to get home and I just live north of Bruner (Street),” Klebenow said. “My husband wouldn’t even come here.”
“You’d get stuck behind the buses and students walking across,” said Kathy Huang, who lives in Clarendon Hills. “Even though the drive was wide enough to pass, if the bus puts out its stop sign, you had to stop.”
Huang said she wanted her son to take the bus to school, but the Clarendon Hills routes used to get to the school at 7:10 a.m. and her son did not want to get there almost an hour before school started.
The renovations are expected to be finished by next week, at which point the buses will reach the bus staging area from 57th Street. While there was room for 12 buses in the parking lot along 55th Street, there will be 20 slots for buses in a new loop behind the school.
“Having the buses separated from where the cars drop off students is significant,” District 86 Superintendent Nicholas Wahl said.
When the school buses are not there, 50 parking spaces will be available for people coming to sporting events and other activities to use.
Another parking improvement will be the creation of 32 new parking slots for visitors in the 55th Street lot and 24 along the east, or pool, entrance. Those spaces will be available even during bus drop-off and pick-up times.
“The only visitor parking we had was south along Grant Street,” Wahl said. “It was quite a walk to the main entrance.”
At Hinsdale South High School, changes include separated lanes for school buses and cars dropping off or picking up students.
School buses will continue to drop off and pick up students from the main entrance off of Clarendon Hills Road. This drive has been widened to four lanes with the two lanes closest to the school reserved for buses. A landscaped island and stone wall about 4 feet high will separate the bus lanes from two lanes for cars. The stone wall is designed to prevent pedestrians from cutting across between cars and buses, and direct them to a crosswalk that leads to the school entrance.
Buses dropping off students in special education programs will use the north entrance, as will buses taking students home who participate in afterschool activities.
Additional parking spaces have been added near Hinsdale South. Sixteen angled spaces will be added at the Clarendon Hills Road entrance, and at the north end of the school, there will be 22 more spaces available when no buses are there.
Officials say they will send detailed instructions to families via email before school starts about where to drop off and pick up students at both schools.