At the City Council meeting yesterday, Mayor Noam Bramson suggested the council defer on the issue of a proposed changed to traffic rules on Church Street near Trinity Elementary School. Pointing out that the New Rochelle Traffic Advisory Commission often feels underutilized, Mayor Bramson proposed that the issue of traffic problems around Trinity be referred to the Traffic Advisory Commission.
Next time Mayor Bramson might want to check with his good friend Mitchell Tarnopal who several years ago submitted a report with findings and recommendations regarding traffic concerns at Trinity Elementary School. The report was submitted to City Manager Chuck Strome who was also present at the Council meeting yesterday.
The Traffic Advisory Commission has been reviewing two issues: School Congestion and Leaf Removal. We would like to share our with the City Council for their consideration.
While our study concentrated on Trinity Elementary, most other public schools and some private schools were also reviewed.
We found extensive congestion during morning drop-off and afternoon pickup. The afternoon was generally worse because parents would often 10 to 20 minutes early so they could get as close to the school as possible. Regardless of whether it was morning or afternoon drivers universally ignored traffic parking signs and/or traffic regulations. Cars were parked by fire hydrants, in front of signs
that indicated no parking, no stopping or no standing, blocking intersections, or double and tripled parked. This total disregard of traffic rules and regulations created congestion and a dangerous situation for motorists who were trying to pass, get out of their driveway or street, or for other school age parents who were trying to drop their children off.
We found that Children as young as 1st grade were being let out of cars and then they would dart, by themselves across streets without looking, or walk between double-parked cars.
We found school buses that were unable to make turns because of blocked intersections or motorists who refused to move for a bus.
We found that at some schools the drop off area was not as effective or was underutilized.
We found that some schools seemed to be more proactive in dealing with congestion.
We were informed that conditions that exist have resulted in numerous fender benders and children almost be hit by a car.
Based on our findings we are submitting the following recommendations for City Council's consideration.
1-Periodically, Police Officers should visit each school and first give warnings and then tickets, if necessary, to illegally parked cars. We realize that this could stretch resources but if it could be done at least once or twice a month at each school, we feel it will have a major impact.
2-Request the Board of Ed. to establish an official drop off/pick up plan for the children at each school. The plan should be monitor during the year and reevaluated at the end of every school year. I am sure members of the committee would be willing to assist if asked.
3-Have a letter sent home at least twice a year (September and January) encouraging parents to utilize the drop off/pick up areas. Encouraged parents to use the drop off area by explaining to them and then showing them how it would be advantageous to them.
4-Most schools have a school newspaper. The newspaper should at the beginning of the school year outline the drop off/pick up program and encourage all parents to use it. It should also warn parents that if they park illegally they would be ticketed.
5-Request the PTA to get involved. Peer pressure is probably the second best weapon against illegal parking. Second, only to a chilCl telling a parent that they are illegally parked. Also, have the PTA appoint a liaison for the school and our committee so we can continue to monitor throughout the school year.
6-Have the schools in conjunction with the Police department teach 7 and 8 year olds how to cross a street and obey traffic law. We understand that the County has a program that will come to the schools.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Traffic Advisory Commission
Full document here.