QUINCY -- Quincy Public Schools officials hope a change in morning traffic flow next year at Quincy Junior High School will boost student safety.
Plans call for stopping northbound traffic on 14th Street between Jersey and Maine.
"Vehicles will not be allowed to come up 14th northbound. They will either have to go west on Jersey next to the building or go east on Jersey, but no longer north on 14th," QJHS Assistant Principal Rick Owsley said.
The Quincy City Council approved the change this month, allowing QPS to block the street from 7 to 7:45 a.m. on school days.
The change, effective starting in the 2019-20 school year, will eliminate student drop-off by northbound traffic on 14th.
"Parents who drop off northbound on 14th right in front of the junior high school, those students have to cross traffic," Owsley said. "Although we haven't had any significant accident or injury there, we feel like putting a barrier there will reduce risks of potential injuries."
Transportation Director Shane Barnes said the northbound drop-off, and students just "darting across" the street, was the biggest safety issue at the school.
Southbound on 14th "we've got people pulling up to the curb, buses pulling up to the curb and fighting for space over there, and 100 kids per day were let off on the east side of the street crossing to the west," Barnes said.
QPS will place and remove a barricade to block the northbound lane each morning, and a crossing guard will be added for the crosswalk on 14th just south of the school.
For students dropped off on Jersey east of the school, "we're going to insist on them crossing at the crosswalks," Barnes said.
"This is a significant and specific change we're requiring to minimize risk for students," Owsley said. "You can't argue against safety. We feel like this will be a safer practice for us."
The change affects only morning drop-off because 14th Street already is blocked to through traffic from 2:40 to 2:55 p.m. when school dismisses and buses line the street to pick up students.
In another change, Barnes said signs asking motorists to "please pull forward" will be posted for southbound traffic on 14th.
"Pull all the way up to Jersey so you're not holding people up," Barnes said. Traffic "backing up on Maine is another problem we want to help with, too."