Principal Sue Ruch tells a Fairview Elementary parent to pull closer to the curb and let children out on the passenger side to avoid possible danger from passerby cars.
Principal Sue Ruch tells a Fairview Elementary parent to pull closer to the curb and let children out on the passenger side to avoid possible danger from passerby cars.
August 16, 2013



The $370,000 project that radically changed the way parents drop off students at Fairview Elementary has all but eliminated the illegal parking and blocked roads that were commonplace in years past at the intersection of 18th Street and Grant Road.

"It's so much easier, and we haven't really had one problem with the change," Principal Sue Ruch said Thursday. "I don't know if it can be 500-percent better, but it seems like it."

The summer parking-lot project created two separate drop-off and pick-up loops - on the west and south sides of the school - and dozens of extra parking spots that are designated for school employees or visitors.

School leaders started the change last school year, when they blocked one of the three entrances to the school's lots closest to the 18th and Grant intersection. It is now marked with "do not enter" signs as an exit.

Ruch said some parents grumbled about the change last year, but that they adjusted with little trouble this week with the start of the new school year. The school sent out 574 letters and maps to guide parents on the new system. The most-frequent reminder she gives each morning is to pull close to the curb and let students out on the passenger side of the car to avoid possible danger from passerby vehicles.

"Parking is the best it's ever been," parent Eric Neu said this morning after he dropped of his second-grade student, Lincoln.

Neu said his drop-off wait could be five to 10 minutes before the changes, but he easily rolled through the lot this morning.

In the morning, parents can choose either the west or south loop to drive.

"If a parent in the morning wants to talk to a teacher, they can park in the parent parking lot on the west," Ruch said. "There's a nice little walkway to get into the building, not blocking the traffic. They had to park by the bus yard last year (to the east of the school) and had to walk."

In the afternoons, parents with preschool and kindergarten children drive the south loop. Everyone else goes to the west.

"We're happy with it," Superintendent Rob Cordes said Thursday. "It sure looked like the traffic flow was better yesterday. ... If there was a problem, I would have heard about it by now."

The new system will get its final test on Tuesday, Ruch said, when preschool students start school.