New procedures and assistance from the Sanford Police Department are easing traffic congestion in the neighborhood around Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School (GEMS).

On Monday, traffic along 20th St. in front of the school backed up to French Avenue. While first-day-of-school traffic is always challenging, it took parents more than 90 minutes to pick up their students. A significant increase in student population, coupled with bad weather and a minor fender bender were to blame, said Goldsboro principal Keaton Schreiner.

“Our population has increased by 120 students, so as a result, our traffic has increased,” said Schreiner.

Tuesday’s dismissal took about an hour, Schreiner said, and Wednesday that time was down to 45 minutes. The goal is to have dismissal done in about 35 minutes.

Schreiner said the school has made changes to its dismissal procedures. He also noted the Sanford Police Department is assisting with traffic control around the school.

“As long as Sanford Police Department is willing and able, I welcome there help with traffic control,” said Schreiner.

On a typical afternoon, more than 200 cars, 15 schoolbuses and about a dozen daycare vans converge upon Goldsboro Elementary to pick up students.

– by Dan Ping