GARNER — Traffic around North Garner Middle School will soon start flowing in a little different direction.
But the changes town council made to street travel around the school Monday night amount to little more than a Band-Aid, according to councilman Gra Singleton.
Action on a ordinance to eliminate left-hand turns from Bryan Road into the school carpool lane during school hours was originally intended to be part of the council’s consent agenda, a group of non-controversial actions that require no debate.
But Singleton asked for the measure to be dealt with differently and he suggested another solution to the problem.
“This is not solving the problem. This is a Band-Aid. The problem is we let them flip the carpool lane and the bus lane,” Singleton said. “That’s the problem.”
But council member Ken Marshburn countered that adopting the no-left-turn policy would be in keeping with the short-term recommendations of a 2011 study the town did on school traffic circulation issues. He also pointed out that school officials were the ones asking for the change.
“I think this is something we could do to help support our educators. When we have a chance to do that, we should,” Marshburn said.
Councilman Buck Kennedy said the problem with traffic around the school, which is surrounded on all four sides by residential neighborhoods, is the county’s policy of busing students to achieve diversity.
“I think if Wake County were to let children go to the school closest to them, this likely wouldn’t be a problem,” Kennedy said.
Singleton said traffic on Bryan Road, where he used to live, sometimes gets so heavy that residents trying to exit their own driveways can’t enter the roadway.
Council was considering the change at the request of North Garner Middle School principal Greg Butler and the school’s resource officer William Hinson.
In a letter to the town, Butler said the school was reacting to complaints from parents and residents.
“Currently we have a ‘left turn must yield’ sign and parents attempting to turn left are causing major congestion blocking the drive,” Butler wrote in his request.
Council members ultimately OK’d the request, on a 4-1 vote, which will prohibit left-hand turns into the school only on school days and only in the afternoon, between 2:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.
Singleton voted against the measure.