Schools, police remind parents of traffic rules

Officials with the Fort Dodge schools and Police Department are reminding those with children attending Fort Dodge Middle School to follow the designated instructions for dropping off and picking up students.

On Tuesday morning, traffic for the first day at the middle school was backed up due to confusion regarding where drop-off and pickup is allowed.

Police Chief Tim Carmody said his department and the schools worked together to put a plan in place to make sure students are safe and parents are able to drop off and pick up their children in a timely manner.

“To alleviate the traffic, we encourage parents to use the Dodger Drive entrance,” Carmody said.

Those dropping off children Tuesday morning were backed up on 10th Avenue North and 32nd Street.

Carmody said Dodger Drive was designed to help the flow of traffic.

“Once they come into the lot, they’ll follow the traffic pattern all around,” he said. “Go as far down as the space allows before dropping your kids off.”

School Resource Officer Joelyn Johnson added that parents should pay attention while in the drop-off areas.

“Continue to fill that gap,” she said. “When cars pull away, continue to fill in those gaps if you’re still waiting for your child.”

Carmody added that those in the drop-off lane should pay attention to their surroundings and where traffic is moving. He also said that those in the drop-off and pickup lanes should be mindful that they’re not blocking the fire lane.

Jennifer Lane, FDCSD director of communications and community relations, said in addition to the specific drop off locations, there are also specific times when students can’t be dropped off.

“We don’t want parents dropping off students before 7:45,” she said. “We have to make sure we have appropriate supervision here once the students are dropped off, and that’s the earliest we’d like to see students arriving.”

She added that, for safety reasons, students should only be dropped off in the designated lanes.

“We don’t want people stopping and letting the kids off on 32nd Street or 10th Avenue North,” Lane said. “For safety, it’s better to use the drop-off lanes.”

The north end of the building is only for buses and employees, according to Lane.

Carmody said there are also crosswalks around the middle school to help with students who are walking to the building, and added that parents should talk with their kids about having a plan ready for going to and from school.

“Parents should be communicating with their kids regarding where to meet them when they’re picking them up,” he said. “Pre-designating a spot is very helpful.”

“Keep traffic flowing as much as possible,” Carmody added. “Look for direction from staff and officers in the area.”

While the system is new, Carmody said everybody involved appreciates the patience of those who have children in the school in making sure everything runs smoothly.

“The Fort Dodge schools have done a great job communicating with the parents,” he said. “We encourage people to come in from the south on Dodger Drive and depart that way. That’s really going to help us out in the long run.”