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At a fourway stop with LASA traffic

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At a fourway stop with LASA traffic

Cars line up on Pecan Brook Drive, waiting to enter the LASA parking lot. photo courtesy of Jorge Villa

Cars line up on Pecan Brook Drive, waiting to enter the LASA parking lot. photo courtesy of Jorge Villa

Cars line up on Pecan Brook Drive, waiting to enter the LASA parking lot. photo courtesy of Jorge Villa

Cars line up on Pecan Brook Drive, waiting to enter the LASA parking lot. photo courtesy of Jorge Villa

Somaya Jiminez-Hahaml, Staff Writer

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This past school year, there has been an increase in traffic on Pecan Brook Drive, changing the morning routines of students, parents and staff as they make their way to LASA and LBJ in the morning. The traffic has caused people to arrive late to school, and there have been several safety issues in the area. The main cause of traffic in this area is the large influx of cars coming in the same direction and time. Junior Ethan Marks has safety concerns about the hectic morning traffic.

“The stop signs, there’s only a two way stop,” Marks said. “People either try to be really aggressive when it comes to turning or if i’m crossing the crosswalk, people who don’t have to stop go 50 miles per hour. I almost died one day because the car couldn’t see me and they just didn’t stop at the intersection down the road with the two-way stop.”

Senior Leah Rowan has witnessed other problems which could impact the safety of drivers. Because so many student drivers have only recently begun to drive, some may have trouble maneuvering their way through challenging situations.

“People just want to skip the line and jump in,” Rowan said. “So if someone tries to jump in right in front of you, people can get aggressive about that. I’ve seen people rear end others right in that area.”

Principal Stacia Crescenzi has been tackling the school traffic situation with CAC (Campus Advisory Council) ever since she began working at LASA eight years ago. Recently, the CAC has met with the city of Austin to create a new traffic plan that went into effect on Sept. 12.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the parents of our CAC”, Crescenzi said. “They formed a little committee that works with the parents of the Montessori, and they went together to the city. That’s why you’re seeing some of the changes that you’re seeing.”

The plan adds a left turn lane into the Magnolia Montessori school, a stop sign at the Lazy Creek Drive and Pecan Brook Drive, and a pedestrian island near Magnolia Montessori. Junior Nathan Rieden is hopeful about this new plan.

“I think that it’s a good idea that they’re splitting it up into two lanes because when I do drive there in the mornings, there’s always people stopped and it’s really frustrating to get here,” Reiden said. “There’s just a lot of traffic, so I think it’s good they’re splitting it.”

Reiden believes this new lane will reduce the amount of traffic in the area. However, Crescenzi said she’s doubtful the traffic will ever completely go away, especially because there are so many people driving nowadays.

“I think we can do everything we can to make [the traffic] better and more comfortable for people,” Crescenzi said. “But I think we would be naive to think [the traffic] just ever going to completely go away because it’s bad in Austin. It seems to me that Austin never anticipated, understandably, some of its neighborhoods being as packed as they are.”

The LBJ high school building was built in the mid-seventies when the neighborhood was still relatively small. However, with the new Magnolia Montessori school and increased development in the area, the traffic has increased significantly. Crescenzi said she just hopes the new traffic plan feels logical to drivers.

“Anytime you’re in traffic, if you feel like you’re moving, it feels positive,” Crescenzi said. “I think it’s when you’re just sitting there that people get the most frustrated. Whether you are on Lazy Creek or Pecan Brook, I hope that you feel as if you are moving either into campus, or back home.”

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At a fourway stop with LASA traffic