North Charleston’s crackdown on drivers cutting through neighborhoods to get to Academic Magnet High School and Charleston County School of the Arts has been creating huge traffic backups that can extend more than a mile out East Montague Avenue.
“My husband left the house 45 minutes early, and my son was still late,” said SOA parent Dee DiBona. “They have police all around there stopping people for cutting through, but they aren’t helping to move people along.”
And getting stopped can mean a $237 fine and four points on the drivers’ license.
The problem is, Academic Magnet, SOA, and three smaller public schools are in the same area and together have more than 2,000 students — all of whom are required to get there using single-lane Lackawanna Boulevard. Police started heavily enforcing restrictions on neighborhood through-traffic Wednesday.
On Friday several students from SOA were handing out flyers to the all-but-stopped motorists in the car line, urging them to contact North Charleston’s mayor and City Council president to complain. “Fight the power!” one driver shouted in approval, pumping her fist in the air. But it was Mayor Keith Summey and City Council President Bob King, who both live in the neighborhood near the schools, who put the police crackdown in place. Both say hundreds of drivers were cutting through the quiet residential streets, often speeding. “We started enforcing the law, and keeping people from driving through the neighborhoods,” King said.“People couldn’t even get out of their driveways.”
Summey said that police will make an effort to improve the flow of school-bound traffic Monday, and will waive cars through a stop sign intersection that’s been creating a bottleneck.
Read more in Monday’s editions of The Post and Courier. FollowDavid Sladeon Twitter @DSladeNews.