The changes in some street directions and other traffic pattens around East Gloucester Elementary School may take some getting used to.
And some aspects of the plan may be difficult to enforce.
But the changes — advanced by Ward 1 City Councilor Paul McGeary — should indeed make if safer and easier for pupils walking to and from school, and for those getting on and off school buses that have, in the past, gotten stuck trying to navigate the current patterns. That makes the proposed changes well worth the effort.
McGeary's changes, which will permanently alter the pattern around the school during drop-off and pickup hours, begin by cutting off access to the Davis Street Extension for everyone except neighborhood residents, school staff and school buses. They would also make Chapel Street one way heading east from East Main Street to Davis Street, and one way leading westward from Mt. Pleasant Avenue to Davis Street.
Now, it's a little uncertain how the school staff- and resident-only restrictions to using the Davis Street Extension — thereby barring access to parents who drive to the school to pick up their children — will be monitored and enforced.
But it's more important to focus on the real bottom line — the safety of the schoolchildren. Let's face it, children running into and out of elementary school at the start and end of the day are not always the most attentive pedestrians.
Any changes that can ease traffic confusion — buses backing up, cars blocking bus turnarounds, and the other myriad issues the school has faced in the past — are changes for the good.