ANDOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ - After having attended the Andover Township Committee Meeting on August 27 and September 10 (click here and here for previous coverage of these stories by The Alternative Press), many of the same residents attended the September 18 Andover Regional School Board Meeting to present new solutions to the traffic problem for the Florence M. Burd School.
Patricia Wolfrum, an Andover resident living on Limecrest Road, began the discussion and said, “We are here on behalf of the issue of the driveway that would go through our neighborhood.”
She continued by explaining that the flashing light in front of the school has been off for five years, but she recently suggested the town turn it back on to start solving the traffic problem. This flashing light should warn drivers that school is in session and remind them of the 30 mph speed limit in the school zone.
One school board member remembered that the light had been turned off years ago for financial reasons. Linda Gianni, president of the school board, said, “Thank you for requesting to turn that flashing light back on. You got it on much faster than we would have.”
The residents hope that by reminding drivers to slow down in the school zone, the officer directing traffic would be safer.
“[Chief Taglialatela] was arranging this as a courtesy to the neighborhood, but only 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon is really a small traffic problem,” Wolfrum said, suggesting that these 40 minutes each day are not worth the problem given to the neighborhood.
These residents also pointed out that the buses would have even more difficulty turning onto Limecrest Road.
One resident said, “I live on the very end of that street, and I know that it’s almost impossible for me to make the turn onto Limecrest at that time in the morning. I don’t know how 20 buses would be able to [make the turn].”
Another resident said, “As a senior citizen, I can tell you that this even causes problems for us with the noise level.”
She mentioned that emergency vehicles may not have access to the neighborhood during the times that the buses are trying to exit the town.
Other solutions included having a retired crossing guard direct traffic instead of the officer, installing a traffic light or making all turns right turns out of the driveway.
Later in the meeting, the board members discussed more solutions. member Chris Pierson said, “I agree with what we heard, but there is a safety concern to consider.”
Board member Ida Machuca suggested asking the township to come back and explain other options, because no other options were presented.
Terry-Lee VanAuken, the business administrator, explained that getting a right-turn-only sign would be a 60-90 day application process.
Pierson suggested building an island at the exit of the school driveway, that only allows right hand turning out of the driveway, similar to the driveway at Long Pond School.
After several references to the Ogdensburg School zone, board member Sarah Balzano explained that these things work because the officer is waiting to give out tickets to anyone violating the school zone speed limit. She suggested giving tickets to parents who turn left or go straight out of the parking lot.