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Parents concerned about students' safety at Fairview school

March 11, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - When students at Fairview Elementary School enter their building in the morning or leave in the afternoon, the streets around the school become jammed with vehicles as parents drop off or pick up their children.

About 50 parents signed a "proposal" asking the Waynesboro Area School Board to build another parking lot at the school to ease the congestion, said parent spokeswoman Carole Gahan of 210 Wayne Ave.

Gahan said the situation is creating a traffic safety hazard for the students. She said her child, a kindergartner, nearly got struck by a vehicle because of the congestion.

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The proposal was given to the board Tuesday night.

School Board President Larry Glenn said Wednesday the parents' concerns have been turned over to the administration for study and recommendation.

With 700 students, Fairview is the district's largest elementary school.

Because of its location on Fairview Avenue within the borough limits of Waynesboro, only about 10 percent of its students ride the bus, Glenn said.

The rest are considered walkers except that in many cases their parents drop them off in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon.

Gahan said the problem got worse last fall when borough officials ordered no parking signs to be installed along an approximate two-block section on the north side of West Third Street - a stretch where many parents parked while waiting for classes to end.

The problem there, according to Borough Police Chief Ray Shultz, is that some parents double parked and blocked the street. Shultz said police are enforcing the no-parking ban.

"There's nowhere for the parents to park," Gahan said. "About 90 percent of the students who go to a school of 700 students are not bused. You put that many parents in a small area all at once and you're going to have problems.

"We're asking for a second parking lot. If not, then take the signs down (on West Third Street)," she said. "They made parking worse by taking that street away."

Glenn said among proposals the administration is considering are bussing more students by picking up large groups farther away from the school, staggering the times when classes end and making Fairview Avenue one way during peak hours.

Glenn said he visited the school Tuesday morning and afternoon to see the situation for himself.

"I want the public to know that we are looking into this," he said.

"Whatever is done won't be an easy fix," Gahan said.

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