Expansion of School Parking Lot To Improve Traffic Flow

July 20, 2017
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Traffic congestion on Seven Bridges Road and Point Road could be eased by a plan to expand the Point Road School parking lot.
By Jenna O’Donnell

By Jenna O’Donnell |

LITTLE SILVER – The traffic woes of many Point Road School parents may be eased this September as the borough and board of education work together to improve the school parking lot.

In an effort to help alleviate traffic and safety concerns at the school, the borough purchased the parking lot, designated block 46 lots 36 and 37, from the board of education at no cost in May. The borough will fund and manage the capital project, estimated to cost about $75,000, that will involve resurfacing and restriping the parking lot, moving some of the lighting, and reconfiguring the parking lot entrance. Officials hope to go out to bid on the project this summer and complete it before the new school year begins.

“The bottom line was the borough uses the Point Road playing field for recreation,” said Councilman Don Galante. “The feeling was, why not move the capital project into our coffers. And it can improve our town and improve safety.”

The busy drop-off and pick-up point at the primary school, currently shared with overflow staff parking, has been ensnaring parents for more than 15 years. But renovating the parking lot was never in the budget for the borough’s small school district. After meeting with members of the school board, borough officials came up with the best possible solution.

“It all started with the town complaining to the BOE about the safety and drop off issue,” Galante said. “We came together and looked at different options and thought that the first thing we should do is improve the parking lot and get some of the cars off the road, which should improve the traffic.”

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Currently the cars back up on Seven Bridges Road and on Point Road. Galante believes getting all the teachers parking in the lot and off the street, will help with congestion. They also hope current efforts to encourage students to ride bicycles and walk to school will help as well.

Galante noted some parents were concerned that making the parking lot borough property could allow for cell towers, but this was not the case. The parking lot will be zoned MP2, not MP1 which accepts cell towers.

“This will be zoned MP2 – no towers are permitted,” he said, adding that all borough properties, with the exception of borough hall and the Department of Public Works, were similarly zoned.

Since approval from the BOE and borough council this spring, and an ordinance authorizing the borough to acquire the 3.57 acres was approved at a May 22 council meeting, the traffic problem may be close to a resolution.

“My wife was on the school board for 14 years. This has always been an issue,” Galante said. “In essence it’s a town that’s gotten together with the school board to find out a way to solve this problem.”

This article was first published in the July 6-13, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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