WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield's public safety traffic and parking committee recommended to the town council Tuesday that the parallel parking lines on the street in front of McKinley Elementary School not be removed. Tom Dries, a resident who lives in the McKinley Elementary School neighborhood, has argued to the council that the lines do nothing to improve safety.
Dries could not remember the lines painted on the street in his neighborhood before August, when the town council maintains that they were re-painted more than 10 years after they were first placed there.
“These lines were repainted by DPW last August along with several other crosswalks, parking lines and other roadway safety markings throughout town prior to the start of the school year,” Councilman Keith Loughlin, the committee’s chair, told the council during its conference session earlier that evening.
In 2005, he explained, the public safety committee and the citizens traffic advisory committee held community outreach meetings to address safety concerns at a number of traffic locations in town, including McKinley School.
The issue in front of the school, he said, reading from a 2005 article in The Westfield Leader, was that roads were literally blocked by double-parked cars during school dropoff and pickup.
“The street markings are designed with safety in mind and provide safe line-of-sight views at driveways and crosswalks, especially during dropoff and pickup. So tonight, our public safety committee concurred with the recommendations of our traffic safety professionals to keep all the safety markings on Osborne, including the parking lines,” Loughlin said. “As I’ve stated before, the town’s safety professionals monitor all the school areas regularly and we will continue this practice. In addition, we are open to removing any roadway markings if the town’s traffic safety professionals determine they are no longer effective or needed.”
Dries told the council during their regular meeting later that evening that the parking lines did nothing to stop parents from double parking during pick up and dropoff.
“The police aren’t there. They’re not giving out tickets. People are double-parked, parked illegally and nothing’s being done,” Dries told the council. “If it’s a safety issue, why isn’t it being taken care of?”
He added, “You have to teach the teachers, the schools , the board of ed. In turn, they have to turn around and teach the parents and grandparents and whoever’s picking up the children. You just can’t thow up parking spots and signs and walk away. You’ve got to monitor it. You’ve got to go through with it.”
Mayor Andy Skibitsky thanked Dries for voicing his concerns.
“The lines will remain for now, but we will continue to monitor the situation,” Skibitsky said.