Oak Creek school traffic plans in place for IKEA opening

Posted at 6:00 PM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-12 12:03:02-04

Oak Creek IKEA's opening day is causing some concerns for neighboring school Forest Ridge Elementary parents.

The Oak Creek and Franklin School District Superintendent Tim Culver and Assistant Superintendent Daniel Unertl Esquire agree with parents that the situation isn't ideal.

The school and store share the only road, South IKEA Parkway, in and out of the area. But school officials say they are determined to make it work. The district worked with city officials, law enforcement, and IKEA to create a traffic pattern specifically for opening day. 

Wednesday, May 16 shoppers can park on IKEA's 1,100 space lot at 5 a.m. and doors open at 9 a.m. Store officials anticipate over 1,000 visitors on opening day. So to help with parking headaches, shoppers are encouraged to leave their cars at the College Avenue Park and Ride Lots and catch the free shuttle to the store.

But while IKEA's lot opens at 5 a.m. Forest Ridge Elementary starts school at 8 a.m. Greg Loreck is a parent of two students and says some parents think getting to school will be a potential traffic nightmare. 

"Almost all the parents' voice is how is there only one entry point to this major retailer and a school?" said Loreck. 

Superintendent Culver says the city does have future plans for additional roadways, but for now the new traffic pattern will have to suffice. Oak Creek Police Department will be out enforcing the new traffic flow.

Also, parents have been given special placards, donated by IKEA allowing parents to use the middle lanes on Drexel to turn onto South IKEA parkway.   

"They just need their placard. They have to be able to display it so they can get into the hot lane, to get directed preferentially into the school lot," says Unertl Esquire.

Superintendents Culver and Unertl Esquire say several messages have gone out to parents letting them what's going on, as well as, encouraging many to put their students on the bus. The district is happy with how helpful IKEA has been through the changes and looks forward to a positive future with them.