'A bird's eye view' shows traffic backup at schools on East Avenue

Parents asked not to arrive earlier than dismissal times to pick up students

Krista S. Kano
Akron Beacon Journal
By 2:35 p.m., 10 minutes before Tallmadge Elementary School dismissal time, parents are already lined up along North Elm Avenue and onto East Avenue, causing major congestion. The district is asking parents to only come to the school during the specified dismissal period.

Tallmadge city and school officials are aware of the daily traffic backup on East Avenue during the elementary and middle school dismissal and are asking parents to only go to the school at the specified dismissal time. 

"[Tallmadge City Schools] are getting inundated with calls, so we’re trying to work with the [school resource officers] to see what we can do to help facilitate traffic control and public awareness to parents who are causing the issues," Mayor David Kline said. 

The traffic, which is blocking East Avenue residents from leaving their homes, is stemming from multiple factors.

First, because of the new schools, all elementary and middle school-associated traffic is in a single location rather than spread throughout the city. Second, due to COVID-related concerns about riding the bus, more parents are transporting their own children. And third, parents are arriving early to pick up their children, rather than at their allotted time. 

The district recently published a presentation called "A bird's eye view at TES dismissal traffic and why earlier may not necessarily better" on its website, showing that elementary school parents are lining up along North Elm Avenue and onto East Avenue at least 10 minutes before dismissal, which runs from 2:45-3:15 p.m.

"For whatever reason, parents are coming at 2:30 p.m.," Superintendent Steve Wood said. "It's like lining up at the store before it opens and just sitting there. We're trying to educate parents that if they come during the pickup window there will be no wait. They'll roll up and pick up their students, and until then, their student will be safely in their classroom with their friends having fun. All we need to do is somehow convince parents not to come early because it's self-defeating."

Kline said there is also a problem with parents parking in the White Gate community behind the schools and having students walk through the field to get to them. Kline is working with Police Chief Ronald Williams on that issue. 

 Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, kkano@thebeaconjournal.com or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ.