When Hannibal High School students return next fall they will find a different looking parking lot on the south side of the school.
When Hannibal High School students return next fall they will find a different looking parking lot on the south side of the school. A combination of signage, barricades and lining will be installed in early June with the intent of preventing a left-hand turn out of the parking lot.
“The way it will be configured will make it very difficult to turn left,” said Rich Stilley, business manager for the Hannibal public school district. “If they’re coming out of the school parking lot, they’ll have to turn right.”
Meetings involving the school district, city of Hannibal and Missouri Department of Transportation have been going on for months in an effort to come up with a solution that will make conditions safer for motorists using McMaster’s Avenue, particularly around the time the high school dismisses classes.
“I have seen a lot of good ideas come out of that committee,” Mark Rees, city engineer.
Stilley said it wouldn’t have made sense to implement the changes this late in the school year.
“In the middle of the school year would have been a lot to ask,” he said. “We felt it would be more prudent to wait. That will give us the chance to reach out to district patrons and students and let them know how it will look.”
While Stilley is confident the changes will be “sufficient” to deter drivers exiting the parking lot to turn right, he is hopeful that “early on we’ll have support from HPD (police).”
Stilley added that members of the school district staff will be stationed in the parking lot to “monitor” it and hopefully “lessen the number (of students) turning onto Brookside” Drive where a left turn will still be permissible.
During Wednesday night’s Hannibal Board of Education meeting it was suggested the city was considering making some traffic flow changes on Brookside. Rees acknowledged that some ideas regarding Brookside has been discussed.
“I’m going to go a little bit contrary to the opinions of others because what was discussed was building two lanes, a right turn and left turn,” he said. “Putting two lanes there is incompatible with trying to make that safer. It’s not out of the question to make some improvements on Bookside, but it seems to be going a little off the reservation of what we were trying to solve, which is a lot of traffic trying to access that road (U.S. 61) at once.”
According to MoDOT traffic information, 40,000 vehicles pass the high school a day. This school year three traffic crashes occurred when vehicles were struck entering McMaster’s from the high school parking lot.