In years past, if you asked a Camas High School student the most annoying part of their day, the answer would be the traffic. Students have to leave significantly earlier to make it to class on time due to congestion, and spend extra time after the last bell rings to return home.
Over the summer, an extensive roundabout was built next to the high school, next to Lake Road and Everett St. At the time students were dubious of the plan, annoyed that the construction haltered their school arrival even further.
With school back in session, a plethora of students arrived back into the building, after a year of empty parking lots.
The problem involving traffic came back along with the return of students, and the roundabout got its chance to prove its usefulness.
CHS junior Melodie Chiu said, “I would say it is better than previous years because the traffic is moving as opposed to stop and go. There is still a bit of backup in the back because everyone is trying to get out.”
Last year, students could wait in the parking lot with no movement next to traffic lights and buildup surrounding Lake Road.
CHS junior Rosie Kuhle said, “The roundabout helps, it is slow but going.”
The roundabout’s main objective was to reduce congestion. It also added an extended sidewalk to make it safer for people traveling on feet, as well as provide foot traffic to nearby stores like the Lacamas Lake Lodge.
It is estimated that the roundabout cost seven to eight million dollars to make.
Although students are back in school, many stay remote, so the school is not at its usual full capacity.
CHS Campus Security, Kelly Kealoha said, “There are definitely fewer student cars in the parking lots, probably due to the number of fully remote students.”
This does not stop the flow of traffic, however.
“Morning and afternoon traffic appears to be very congested 40 minutes before classes begin and about 15-20 minutes after school,” Kealoha said.
CHS junior Lily Walsh has a zero period but goes back home to do her classes remotely. “Usually going home between zero and first period is completely fine because I get home on time, but the parking lot is a bit crowded and hard to navigate with so many people going in and out,” Walsh said.
Kealoha also said that this is increased when there are sports events, like a track meet or a baseball game.
For safety reasons involving pedestrian status, as well as preventing the spread of COVID-19, students are required to use the crosswalk in order to access the south student lot.
Kealoha also suggests to students that “entering and exiting through the back gate, is the best way to avoid traffic.”
With the combination of fewer students, and a new roundabout, traffic seems to be a little lighter than years passed, but still heavy enough to depart from home early to make it to class.