The high school crunch

Plan seeks to ease twice-daily congestion

Plan seeks to ease twice-daily congestion

Any parents who drive their kids to Chico High School know what a congested—and in many ways dangerous—mess it is for a short while each morning, when school is starting, and in the afternoon, when it lets out.

That congestion often spills over onto The Esplanade, forcing motorists to slow way down and sometimes causing a traffic jam. And it also spills into adjacent residential neighborhoods as parents seek easier ways to drop off their kids.

The Esplanade Corridor Safety and Accessibility Study addresses this problem in three ways. One is to put a traffic signal at The Esplanade and West Sacramento Avenue to control both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Another is to widen West Sacramento to create a larger drop-off zone next to the campus along with a mini-roundabout at Arcadian that would enable drivers heading west on West Sacramento to turn around and pull into the drop-off zone.

The third proposed solution is a similar configuration on the other side of the school. Lincoln would be widened to create more drop-off space on the campus, and also converted to two-way traffic between The Esplanade and Magnolia, where another mini-roundabout would be sited, allowing for turnaround. A new left-turn lane on the northbound Esplanade will allow easy access to this loading zone.

The mini-roundabouts would be similar to the one at Salem and First streets, at the entrance to Chico State.

—Robert Speer