Drivers heed traffic warnings at West Forsyth High School: Principal says flow of traffic much smoother; DOT plans traffic study in May

Published 12:10 am Thursday, May 2, 2024

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CLEMMONS — So far, so good with the new traffic regulations at West Forsyth High School.

This involves the plan that went effect on April 9, the first day back for students from spring break, regarding the no parking or stopping during pick-up/drop-off at the school.

The initial announcement put out by the village stated: “Those who don’t heed the ‘NO PARKING OR STOPPING ANY TIME’ signs along Lewisville-Clemmons Road during school dismissal time could face hefty fines — $25 for parking a vehicle on a roadway in violation of NC GS 20-161(a) along with the current court fee of $191.”

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office went on the record as saying only warnings would be issued during the first two weeks, but “after that, it’s free game.” However, in the council meeting the night before students returned from spring break, Village Manager Mike Gunnell said that “we don’t want to give citations. Hopefully everybody will figure it out.”

And according to Deputy Joey Culler from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, in the school days in the first couple of weeks there were “no angry issues, no ugly words.”

Culler recalled only two issues during that stretch when he was on duty.

“I had one situation when I said, ‘Ma’am, you can’t stop in the middle of the road.’ And she said, “Oh, I’m sorry.”

In the other one, Culler said another driver stopped but drove off by the time the deputies arrived.

“We’re not having any issues,” he said.

Gunnell said after last week’s council meeting that that “the traffic seems to be looking good so far. I think there’s things that we’re looking at and taking notes.”

Kevin Spainhour, West Forsyth’s principal, said that the school has been grateful for the efforts of the Clemmons Council and Sheriff’s Office in partnering and supporting this initiative, adding things have really been “a lot smoother,” particularly in the past week.

“When we came back from spring break those first few days, there was definitely some ironing out with the process,” he said. “And particularly on Lewisville-Clemmons Road, the number of folks that are either picking up or dropping off, like stopping right on Lewisville-Clemmons Road, has reduced significantly. And just the flow of traffic in front of the school with the front entrance at dismissal has been smoother as well.”

Spainhour said he has seen other encouraging developments in the overall process.

“Quite honestly, the student lot or the car rider lot, which is accessed off of Southwest School Road, we’ve done some checks from an administrative standpoint, and folks are still able to access that lot all the way up until 3:40,” he said of the school dismissal time. “So we’re not having a lot of backup on Southwest School Road. And I attribute some of that to, I think, parents have heeded some of the encouragement to just coming a little bit later and arrive at 3:50 instead of 3:30. I think we’ve got folks choosing that to be their new expectation. So that’s been a positive.”

In addition, Spainhour said he has learned that DOT will be doing a traffic study on the area in May.

“We’re hoping that will provide some data and feedback for all the parties involved to try to see if there are other options and see if there is a more efficient way to handle our traffic,” he said. “I don’t think West Forsyth is going to shrink in size. If nothing else, we’re going to see population growth that mimics what’s happening in and around Clemmons. We definitely recognize that something needs to be addressed with the safety of our drivers.”