Parents express concern over drop-off, pick-up near Springfield - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Parents express concern over drop-off, pick-up near Springfield school

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(Image Courtesy: MGN Online) (Image Courtesy: MGN Online)

Dropping-off and picking-up kids from school can be a frustrating time for any parent.

At one Springfield elementary school, the car congestion has some people concerned that the drop-off area isn't safe for kids.

It is because some parents double park, whip around buses, and make illegal U-turns in the middle of the road.

"There's cars flying by, there’s cars not paying attention and it’s not a safe situation,” explained Robyn Hertz-Rock, who has a child at the Alice Beal Elementary School.

Hertz-Rock said parking outside of the Alice Beal Elementary School can be hectic and sometimes, unsafe for the kids.

People line Tiffany Street around 8:30 in the morning and 2:45 every afternoon.  There's only a small stretch of road to accommodate the dozens of cars as parents, grand-parents and guardians drop-off or pick-up the children.

"There's cars that will stop to the side of the cars parked here and wait," explained Hertz-Rock.  "So, you're going around two vehicles, which takes you into the next lane where there is oncoming traffic."

But, Hertz-Rock said that’s not even the half of it.

To get to this designated parking area, people have to U-turn on a nearby street, whipping their cars back into traffic.

And sometimes, they'll turn around in the middle of the road.

"Sometimes, the traffic will go all the way back there because everyone is waiting for someone to pull out so they can pull in," explained Josh Charland, of Springfield.

Charland gets a first-hand look, driving by the school every morning on his way to work.  He reached out to Western Mass News to address his growing safety concerns.

"I’ve called the school, I’ve called the police department, and I’ve called the city and no one is doing anything about it," added Charland.

While this congestion can be a nuisance, a handful of neighbors -- including Bill O'Leary, who has lived next to the school for nearly 40 years -- don't seem to mind.  He'd rather these parents bring their kids to school than risk their safety walking.

"for the most part, we try to wait for the traffic to end before we go out," explained O’Leary.  “We would be doing the same thing if we were in their shoes."

Parents, neighbors and people drive by this school each and every day are now wondering if there's a better way for kids to be dropped off in the morning and picked up in the afternoon.

Some parents see a few options they think would work.

“I would hope for either being able to start using that roundabout,” said Hertz-Rock.  "Or, maybe an officer to be present to keep people from side parking who are already parked at the side of the road."

Hertz-Rock also suggested adding a stop light to slow traffic down.  Other drivers think parents should be able to drive around the back of the school.

"At any school, during drop off in the morning and pick up in the afternoon, it looks like chaos … and it is. It's organized chaos," said Azell Cavaan, of Springfield Public Schools.

Cavaan said they’re aware of the traffic.

"We work with planners, we work with police to figure out what is the best flow of traffic for pick up and drop off," added Cavaan.

She said it's important those dropping-off and picking-up kids pay attention to the street signs, exercise patience and follow the rules as explained in memos sent from the principal's office.

Parents are asked to drop-off and pick-up their kids on the same side of the school where signs point to legal parking spaces.

Some people said there have been times where parents have parked in neighboring drive-ways, causing a problem for surrounding home-owners.

The round-about in front of the school is meant for buses and those with handicap placards.

Springfield police actively monitor schools that cause traffic problems.  While these rules are in-place, Cavaan added there's always room for improvement.

"We're always open to looking further and investigating what other options there may be to increase convenience, but safety is always the number one rule," said Cavaan.

Copyright 2016 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved. 

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