This month I would like to take this opportunity to address traffic in the City of Bloomer, particularly the increased traffic that accompanies the start of the school year. With school starting September 1st and the extra challenges brought due to Covid-19, I anticipate seeing a lot more traffic than we have been use to in the past years with parents being encouraged to transport their children to and from school as much as possible. Increased traffic means increased chaos both throughout town as well as in the drop-off lines at the schools. Please be ready for traffic flow to be slower in all areas and for drop off and pickup to take longer. I can say from past years, the first week of school or so will bring the most chaos until everyone gets in the groove. The best advice I can provide is to be patient and courteous to those around you. Leave home a few minutes sooner to provide yourself enough time to alleviate the need to feel rushed.
Each year we receive calls regarding improper use of the drop-off lanes in front of the schools. As you pull up into the school’s drop-off lanes, please have your children ready to go so that you may quickly and easily take your turn in a safe, efficient manner. Please be aware that parking in the schools’ drop-off/pickup lanes is a parking violation. The Police Department receives numerous complaints each school year when individuals park in these lanes and then drivers try to drive around those parked vehicles, creating an unsafe situation for our students. If you need to park and leave your vehicle or assist your child out of your vehicle, please utilize the parking lots at the schools to allow yourself ample space and opportunity.
Return of the school year also brings the safety concerns that revolve around school bus and pedestrian safety. Throughout the City of Bloomer there are numerous school bus stops that pickup and drop off our students each morning and afternoon. It is imperative that motorists be aware of the need to be extra cautious when driving in the proximity of a school bus. Always be on the lookout for a bus driver to activate their red lights and deploy their stop sign in preparation for a stop. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation:
Drivers must stop on the street or highway 20 feet or more from any school bus that has stopped and is flashing red warning lights.
• This applies both to vehicles approaching from the rear and from the opposing lanes.
• All lanes of traffic must stop for the school bus, except in opposing lanes if the highway is divided with a center median.
• No vehicle may proceed until the bus resumes motion and has turned off the red warning lights.
• The stop arm on the bus is an added communication to other drivers, but the lack of an extended stop arm is not reason to pass a bus whose red lights are flashing.
Failure to stop for a school bus will cost a motorist $326.50 and four points. It is important to remember that bus drivers often have a lot of things going on when they are coming up to a stop. It is important to give buses plenty of room and to be extra cautious when approaching a bus with its lights activated. A good rule of thumb is to treat every child loading or unloading a school bus as if it were one of your own children.
I anticipate this year seeing many more children walking to and from school due to the COVID-19 safety recommendations. Please be aware Wisconsin law states when a pedestrian is off the curb and ready to cross the road in a crosswalk that a motorist must yield until the pedestrian has safely crossed and made it up onto the sidewalk again. Failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian, bicyclist or electronic personal assisted mobility device at a controlled intersection is subject to a citation of $175.30 and deduction of four points for a first offense violation. A second offense within a year faces an increased fine in the amount of $213.10 and another 4-point deduction.
While we all are looking forward to getting back to the hustle and bustle of the school year, it is extremely important to remember that safety is of the utmost importance. Please drive with patience and caution as our roadways fill with our community’s youth returning to school the first week of September.