Morning Traffic is Back

With the whole school back in person, Friends students face morning commute jams like never before.

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Photo illustration by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

When you’re stuck in the Friends morning drop-off line, traffic can feel like it’s backed up as far as the eye can see.

Mornings aren’t easy for any high school student, but when it comes to drop-off traffic, it seems Friends Upper Schoolers can’t catch a break. Since school started last month, every morning, 800+ students commute from home to campus between 7:30 and 8:50 am. So many people using one main entrance, confined to a single, 2-lane street, causes serious traffic problems.

For years, students have complained about traffic at drop-off and pick-up. But this year in particular is a change. For the first time since March 2020, all divisions are fully back in person, and grades 9 through 11 are expected to arrive at school at 8 am, whether or not they have an L-block class.

Lower School and Middle School have always started at 8, but with the addition of Upper School, traffic is worse than at any time since the pandemic began.  Often around 8, cars are backed up far down Charles Street – sometimes all the way to Northern Parkway.

Bad weather makes these problems even worse. People move slowly and cautiously, causing even more congestion. They also take longer to leave campus, preventing others from quickly getting dropped off or picked up.

Particular treachery and annoyance await students who have long commutes. The uncertainty of school traffic conditions means these long commuters don’t have a concrete idea of when they should leave home – which leads to unnecessary tardies. Will students ever be free from the vexation of Friends drop-off traffic?