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Traffic likely will thicken
Patience preached as classes begin
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Forsyth County News


* Ready or not, school’s back.

Patience the first several weeks of school could pay off for students as well as drivers in Forsyth County.

The 2009-10 school year begins Monday.

The next several days, parents planning to drop off children at school should "plan on arriving earlier than they would normally," said Jennifer Caracciolo, spokeswoman for the school district.

"It's not only our bus drivers and teachers that have added the increased traffic, but it's also other drivers experiencing a delay. It typically takes about two weeks for us to work out the transportation schedule, and it is because a lot of parents ... want to walk their children into school the first few days."

The opening of five new schools this year in Forsyth County could change traffic patterns and volume, according to the district's transportation director.

Garry Puetz said while traffic may back up some near Lakeside Middle, Lambert High, Brookwood, Haw Creek and Whitlow Elementary schools, "in general, it will relieve traffic in other areas, so it spreads the traffic out, balancing it around the county."

Puetz used Lakeside as an example.

"There may be a little more traffic in that area, but it's going to take traffic away from Riverwatch Middle," Puetz said. "So there's going to be a little more traffic in some areas, and people are going to have to pay attention to that."

As classes begin Monday, Puetz said it's not the 15 to 20 buses per school that will change traffic flow, but "the single vehicle traffic that backs it up."

"Our buses, I don't think, will be as much of an issue as opposed to traffic from parents and students," Puetz said, adding that the system's 300-bus fleet is "well-maintained."

"There will be minor bumps we have to go through in terms of mechanical issues, but by and large, it shouldn't be a problem," he said.

Puetz said residents should look at a list of tips for motorists, which the transportation department has posted on its Web page.

The document -- which can be viewed at -- lists times of day when traffic patterns, volume and pedestrian traffic changes and what measures can be taken to ensure school children's safety.

Generally, from about 7:30 to 9 a.m. and from 2:30 to 5 p.m. school traffic affects highways in Forsyth County.

Puetz encouraged drivers to exercise special caution during these hours.

Staff Writer Jennifer Sami contributed to this report.