School on busy highway in need of traffic solutions

November 19, 2013


A school in Carteret County is looking for solutions to what they’re calling “dangerous traffic conditions.” Tiller Charter School is working with Beaufort Police and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to find a way to solve the issue.

Tiller Charter school is off of U.S. Hwy 70 with one entrance and exit to the school. During drop off and pick up times, school officials said cars waiting to drive into the parking lot can get backed up onto Hwy 70 highway.

For more than three years, Principal Virginia Jones said she has been trying to find ways to solve the school’s traffic dilemma.

“We deal with traffic issues every day,” Jones said.

Lt. Anthony Ginther with Beaufort Police said police have been helping direct traffic during busy times for more than 20 years.

“Out here we are only dealing with a two lane road, one direction west, and one direction east. That’s all that we got,” Ginther said.

Lt. Ginther said traffic leaving town going east bound is one of the biggest problems.

“They’re trying to get by, but then there are parents stopping in the roadway trying to get into the parking lot, and [parents] can’t get in because there’s no room for them,” Ginther said.

Charter schools do not get any funding for school expansions. Parents told NewsChannel 12 that if the school wanted to build a bigger parking lot they would need to raise funds.

Teachers also help direct traffic in the parking lot during the mornings and afternoons on their own time in efforts to keep a constant flow of traffic.

Parent Shay Viehman Neve said she runs late every morning to work because of the traffic.

“Traffic is really going fast through here before policemen come out to direct traffic. So, it would really help if there were flashing school zone lights or signs to slow the traffic down,” Viehman Neve said.

Parents also told NewsChannel 12 that it is very difficult to turn in and out of the school without police directing traffic.

Principal Jones said this year traffic has become more of a problem because the school is at full capacity. 

“We do have some growing pains, and with that has come the traffic in this little town. So, we’re working really hard with the Beaufort Police and The N.C. Department of Transportation to develop a plan that’s going to work for everyone,” Jones said.

Jones said they’ve asked for school zone signs, reduced speed, and flashing lights.

NCDOT does not automatically put up school signs for charter schools. Jones said one of the reasons for this is because charter schools sometimes do not stay open very long.

However, Jones said their school has been open for a long time and is here to stay. She is hoping NCDOT will offer a solution to their traffic problem soon.

Viehman Neve told News Channel 12 that Principal Jones and parents have called NCDOT dozens of times trying to speed up the process.

The school has met with NCDOT three times since the beginning of the school year.

NCDOT said they are calculating traffic volumes from similar schools in North Carolina, and using aerial photographs of traffic at Tiller Charter School to help develop a solution.

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