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Bester Elementary traffic congestion is to be discussed

September 24, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

While a planned new parking lot at Bester Elementary School is not expected to be completed until April 2005, two new options are being explored to address school traffic congestion problems, Washington County Public Schools spokeswoman Carol Mowen said Thursday.

School system representatives plan to provide an update on the situation, as well as receive feedback, during an Oct. 4 meeting co-sponsored by the school's Citizens Advisory Committee and the Parent Teacher Association, Mowen said. The 6 p.m. meeting will be held in the school cafeteria.

A 24-space parking lot north of the school had been slated for construction during summer of 2004.

"In part because of detailed designs needed to address storm water management issues, the necessary engineering work has not yet been completed," Principal Joanne Hilton said in a news release sent Thursday. April 2005 is the new projected completion date, the release said.

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Hilton on Tuesday sent surveys to parents who drive Bester students to school to determine their interest in two alternative ways of addressing the traffic problems, Mowen said. The surveys are due back today, Mowen said.

One option is a "Parent Park and Walk" plan, in which parents would park in a Hagerstown Public Works Department parking lot and walk to the school to pick up students after school, Mowen said. A designated path to and from the school would be established, the release said.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue said the parking lot on West Memorial Boulevard, which is about 50 to 100 yards from the school, would have room for about 50 to 60 cars.

The Hagerstown City Council would have to approve the idea, Tissue said.

Under the second option, some parents would pick up students at 4 p.m., instead of 3:30 p.m., Mowen said. The change would require some additional after-school staffing, she said. The students staying later would start at the same time as the other students, she said.

"Both of these options for car-riding students could lighten the congestion on the parking lot between 3:10 and 3:40 p.m., and this would reduce the likelihood of backed-up traffic on Potomac Street," Hilton said in the release.

The school system has posted information about the school traffic situation at its Internet site at www.wcboe.k12.md.us/content/main_pubinfo.cfm.

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