Cars at Fairview Elementary wait to pick up students after school Tuesday. The cars line up along the roadway, down the driveways of the parking lot.
Cars at Fairview Elementary wait to pick up students after school Tuesday. The cars line up along the roadway, down the driveways of the parking lot.
Just after 3 p.m. every day a litter of cars pack the intersection at Grant Road and 18th Street, just southwest of Fairview Elementary School.

Cars line both sides of the roadways.

Cars in no-parking zones.

Cars in the parking lots, where they aren't supposed to be until 3:20 p.m. when school dismisses.

In front of all the cars are about a dozen buses. Teachers rush groups of students toward the buses, and they try to get away before the flock of oncoming traffic funnels its way through the parking lot on the west side of the building.

"I think it's chaos around here," said Teresa Vonnahme, who has two kids at Fairview and was among the early parkers on Tuesday afternoon.

But the parking situation isn't as bad as it was last year, parents say.

"I've only been here a couple of times," parent Alex Schroeder said. "I heard last year was a real zoo. It hasn't been too bad when I've been here."

Fairview principal Sue Ruch said that in previous years parents had free rein over the parking lot in the afternoons, which blocked school buses from easily getting in and out with students.

Starting this year, the buses load and depart before parents are allowed to get their children.

In order to take some of the heavy traffic away from the intersection, the school will begin barricading the entrance to the parking lot on Grant Road on Monday.

It is part of an evolving plan to streamline afternoon student pick-up, Ruch said.

"It's not a fast process," she said. "It's like curb-side service. The progression isn't just driving through. You have to stop, kids get in the car, get your seat belts on."

One man, who was parked along Grant Road waiting for his child to get out of school, said there needs to be more parking around the school.

"It's tough competition to find a parking spot," parent Justin McCool said.

He said he's surprised the city hasn't complained more about the parking situation.

Parent Jessica Janson said trying to get in the parking lot after school is usually difficult. Everyone goes through different ways, she said.

Despite pleas from school leaders to use only the south entrance on 18th Street, these parents and many more were all lined up at the Grant Road entrance. They didn't appear to know about the request to use 18th Street.

Ruch said a temporary fix until the parking lot is expanded this summer is the Grant Road barricade, which goes up next week after a letter goes out to parents this week.

The Carroll School Board discussed the possible fix to the parking problem at Fairview during its meeting Monday night.

The proposed $368,000 plan would add more parking spots and create alternate routes and loops for vehicles. Right now, all vehicles must follow the same one-way route from the 18th Street entrance to the Grant Road exit.

Board members hope to finish the project this summer.