ANDOVER — When students arrive at Andover High School in buses and cars this week, they are using a new traffic pattern designed to keep them safer.
The new school year brings a pattern that separates buses, cars driven by students, and cars that drop off students, school officials said.
Principal Philip Conrad said the changes are being made with the goal of making it easier for drivers to navigate the school parking lot.
In previous years, Conrad said, there was congestion because students and school staff members were trying to park while parents were trying to drop off students in the same area at the same time.
"In the past, we had students and faculty trying to park, we had people trying to drop off, and we had all of them doing it in the same exact location," Conrad said. "Now we have separated the dropping off from the parking with our least experienced drivers."
The changes include the addition of a bypass lane allowing parents who drop off students to leave the area without having to loop through the student parking lot.
Buses will be allowed to leave the school property only through the Shawsheen exit during drop-off and pick-up hours, school officials said. All cars will exit to the east of West Middle School, or on Moraine Street, officials said.
Spaces in the senior parking lot — the one near the tennis courts — are available on a first-come-first-serve basis for students that have a Lot C parking pass. Parking spaces in the lot have been re-striped and are now angled.
"Students will be able to pull directly into their spots because they're angled, and not have to go in, back up and straighten out," Conrad said. "They can just pull in once and not have to stop the flow of traffic because they're trying to make the entry into their spots perfect."
Conrad said he expects there will be about the same number of parking spaces in the senior lot, but that he will not know the exact number until the work is complete.
Re-striping of the lot will be done before school starts on Wednesday, and is being paid for through a capital improvement plan approved at Town Meeting in April.