Did it take you longer to get to work today?

You probably have schools reopening to thank

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
August 09, 2018 - 11:42 am

It's back to school today for most area students across Southeast Louisiana.  That means school zones are in effect and commute times in general may well be longer.

I have talked to a number of commuters today who had to leave home early to make it to work on time or who were late to work.

We've heard from drivers that it takes them anywhere from any extra ten minutes to half an hour more to get to work when schools resume depending on their route and the distance to work.

Why is this?

Even though most students attend schools in or around their neighborhoods, every year we see the traffic patterns impacted on the interstate and other major roadways during the school year compared to the summer.  This is despite the fact that most drives to school do not include getting on the interstate.

Best theories I have heard are that when school is in session, more people simply leave their houses at the same time than in the summer.  Nearly all schools take in between 7:00am and 9:00am, so more parents are dropping kids off and then heading to work at the same time.

Of course school zones and school busses impact traffic on interior streets as well, which could lead to backups onto the interstate.

Regardless of why, there is no doubt it is true that commutes take longer during the school year.

So, if you have enjoyed less time driving to work the last few months, get ready for more time behind the wheel now through May.

The New Orleans Health Department has provided a list of Back to School Tips that have suggestions for parents, students and drivers.  While they don't have any tips for dealing with the frustration of a longer commute time, you may find some of this useful:

  • Driving in School Zones – Obey all posted signs in school zones including: 20 MPH speed limits, no cell phone use, and stopping for children crossing the street. The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) will be conducting traffic enforcement in school zones across the city.
  • Riding to school – Parents dropping off their children at school should familiarize themselves with their school’s arrival and dismissal policies. Children should exit vehicles at the curbside, away from traffic. When arriving or leaving the school campus, drivers should watch for other children.
  • Walking to school – Consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school as a healthy way to start the day. Help plan their route to school and walk with your child the first few times. You may also want to find another child in the neighborhood with whom your child can walk to school. Be sure to review traffic safety rules with them and remind them not to talk to strangers.
  • Biking to school – If your child bikes to school, help them plan their route and remind them of the rules of the road. Bike riders should always wear a helmet and bike in the same direction as traffic, riding as straight and predictably as possible.
  • Riding the school bus – Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before approaching it from the curb. Wear a seat belt on the bus if it is equipped with one. Do not move around on the bus, and keep heads and arms inside of the bus while riding. Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before getting up to exit and then check both ways before exiting the bus.
  • Preparing for the school day – Children should eat a healthy breakfast in order to concentrate at school and may need help packing their backpacks. A backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s body weight. 
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