New K-12 school creating traffic congestion mess for neighbors near Anthem

Traffic around Great Hearts Academy in Anthem is causing some friction with neighbors
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 6:58 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It’s a line of cars you’d expect to see trying to park at an Arizona Cardinals football game, not waiting to pick the kids from school.

“It’s so frustrating,” said Kellie Gump. “I just wait and wait and wait.” A major traffic situation is brewing twice a day in North Phoenix, off I-17 near Anthem Way. A new K-12 charter school, Great Hearts Anthem, opened last week and is already creating some serious congestion around the neighborhood.

Kiran Patel lives near the school and took drone video a few days ago when school let out around 2:30pm. The video shows traffic backed up around the corner from campus, and down the Frontage Road for nearly a mile. “Honestly, this can have stretches for about an hour in the afternoon,” said Patel. “It’s pretty much from 2pm to sometime after 3pm.” said Patel.

Neighbor Jerry Byrd said there’s only one road, Arroyo Norte Drive, that feeds into the school and surrounding neighborhood, so when the school day starts and ends, an additional 300 to 400 cars line up, blocking residents from getting home. “It’s a public safety hazard,” said Byrd. “If a fire engine, or anything had to come down the road, it’s going to have to go the wrong way all the way. “Even if an ambulance had to get back here what are they going to do, go to New River exit and then come back?”

Arizona’s Family reached out to Great Hearts and the City of Phoenix and was told they are looking into the problem to find a solution.

Great Hearts released this statement:

“We always strive to be a good neighbor, and we have been working with members of the City Planning Department to address the traffic issue happening at Great Hearts Anthem. The school has been open for four days and each day we are improving our plan. We also have off-duty police officers helping with the traffic flow. We know this is a frustrating situation and we are working hard to improve it.”

Great Hearts says they’ve hired two off-duty police officers to help with traffic each day.

“My wife is a school teacher, and I’m all for good education, I’m just not for disruption they have brought into our neighborhood,” said Patel.