West Potomac’s Back-to-School Backup


Carly Mulvihill, Business Manager

Traffic at this school. It’s my worst nightmare.

It used to take me 15 minutes to get to school, when there was traffic, but now, I spend at least 25 minutes stuck in traffic every morning. In addition to this, there are often issues quickly leaving the parking lots after school. The large amount of traffic every day makes it practically impossible to beat the buses at the end of the school day.

Traffic has been causing problems for many students and teachers who drive to school as well. It has also become a serious issue in the neighborhood around West Potomac because of the increase in students and, therefore, an increase in cars on the roads. Whether it is on Quander Road or in the West Potomac parking lot, there never seems to be enough space on the road for all of the cars that need to make it to the school. This year’s student body is one of the largest that West Potomac has ever had, and the local traffic has become unbearable.

When asked how he avoided traffic on the way to school, junior Eric Turner stated, “I take the Parkway to avoid traffic.” Turner added that the higher speed limit on the Parkway made it faster to get to school.

New math teacher, Mr. John Zacharias has a special challenge with his drive to West Potomac. He commutes all the way from Arlington, Virginia, so he often faces issues that students and teachers who live closer to the school don’t have to deal with. He explained that highways such as I-95 are filled with traffic in the morning, so the back roads make for a less-stressful commute.

I have tried to combat the traffic by leaving my house earlier and taking a roundabout route to avoid the main roads. In the mornings, Fort Hunt Road is a mess, so avoiding it makes my route to school much easier. After school, no matter how fast I get to my car, the parking lot is always still a madhouse. As a senior, and holder of a 200 dollar parking pass, I don’t understand why I am not reaping the benefits.

Recently, the traffic situation has gotten better since the school has opened up a second exit for the senior parking lot. It has cut down on the one lane traffic from the lot, and has allowed more cars to leave the parking lot before the buses.

The traffic issue at the school would best be solved by creating alternate exits to the parking lots. If the school paved a second exit for the junior and overflow lots, it would definitely cut down on how long all of us are forced to wait behind the massive lines of cars. Moreover, a large majority of traffic I have seen going in and out of the school is from parents driving their children to school. It would be wonderful if students are required to ride the bus or carpool with a West Potomac student. At this point, any of these changes would be more effective than our current system.