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Before Bramson Refers Trinity Traffic Issue to New Rochelle Traffic Advisors He Might Want to Read Previous Commission Reports

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Before Bramson Refers Trinity Traffic Issue to New Rochelle Traffic Advisors He Might Want to Read Previous Commission Reports

October 13, 2010 - 15:50
14 comments

Mayor.gifAt 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.

Chuck Strome
City Manager

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.

School Congestion

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.

Mitchell Tarnopal
Chair
Traffic Advisory Commission

Full document here.

There are 14 Comments

So I read the agenda for the recent city council meeting where several traffic issues were discussed.

In reading the document here:

I see on page 31 that a resident requested that a "No U-Turn" sign be put on Church near Trinity. The request came in in September.

Background -- At Trinity the primary drop off zone is on Church. The primary access to Church is Pelham Road, either by left hand turn or right hand turn. So people turn in to Church, do a u-turn, and then drop off their children. Trinity has over 850 students, with very few busses (something like 2). This means a lot of walkers and drop offs.

The u-turns on Church are an unsafe condition, due to the volume of cars, traffic, people and children. The request seems reasonable.

According to the agenda,

On page 31, the city traffic engineer approves the new "No U-Turn" signage.

On page 33, the police department approves the new "No U-Turn" signage.

On page 30, the acting Commissioner of Public Works approves the new "No U-Turn" signage.

Yet now we see that the council has voted "no" on the signage. How could that be?

An alternate to making u-turns is for parents to drive their cars east on Pelham Road, make a right on Hudson Park Road, make a right on Davenport and drive through the neighborhood to drop off on the right hand side of Church in the drop off zone. I remember a study that clocked the trip at 2 minutes.

I have suspicions to why they withdrew the new "No U-Turn" sign on Church. When I watch the video, I will post what I find.

By the way, check out the configuration of Davenport Avenue. It is a major 'S' configuration, starting in the Hudson Park area and ending at the end of Davenport Neck.

After the traffic committee submitted recommendations, the conditions did improve, mostly due to the regular staffing of a police officer during drop off.

We have a totally unnessecary Traffic Advisory Commission. What a waste of money! And I wonder how many more of these commissions Noam and Chuck have out there. Totally mind baffling how ineffective our leaders are.

I'm sure a person with good common sense could watch the area over several days/weeks and possibly months and come up with great solutions and not just suggestions. Where's the principal on this? Webster School had issues and the pricipal spear-headed the solution. I was very impressed.

City hall needs to get its act together and realize that parking is an issue at all the schools and at most of the ball fields. Just the typical run around and I bet nothing will happen. Maybe they should stategically place some of those wonderful CSOs at every school to pay for that pension increase. At $35 per ticket, they only have to write out 100,000 tickets to solve the problem.

No waste of money there.

It may be voluntary, but beleive me its costing money. Who do you think typed up that nice report, Mr. Tarnopal? Not likely.

The committee is professional and dedicated and volunteer.

The Traffic Calming Committee is a group of volunteers that take issues seriously and should be commended. That said, the traffic engineer responded, "I am betwixt and between" when asked for his recommendation by Mayor Bramson so if the professionals can't determine the best remedy how can a volunteer group determine the best remedy?

The old report from Chairman Tarnopal recommends increased police presence and enforcement, we have crossing guards and they need support from the Community Service Officers and the NRPD. Also, the Board of Education should cooperate by sending security staff out at drop-off, lunch and pick-up times to help.

With a simple multi-pronged plan this situation could be greatly improved without all the hoopla.

Where's the principal? She/he should be leading this effort, its their school so maybe we should look to change the principal if she/he isn't going to solve these little problems before they become big. Webster had, repeat had, traffic problems last year and the principal looked at the situation and came to a common-sense solution. And guess what? The solution still works very well today.

As for the city's traffic engineer, he should be fired. What an idiot.

Of course traffic conditions will improve with the placement of cops on the corners, but that's not a long term solution.

Oh boy Mitchell your in trouble Noam is going to spank you. i guess your traffic comm. don't stand up to well.this is a easy solved problem use the front of the school like they are supposed to tell the teachers and staff to move there cars and use the lot in front of the school for pick-up and drop off.Enter on pelham road exit on church or vise verse.

I was just going to suggest the very same solution and I've only been to the school once!! And I still don't know why or how our paid and volunteer staff/committee people couldn't come to the same conclusion. Its just common sense to use the wrap around driveway that already exists in front of the school, but somehow that I guess then the principal and vice-principals would have to walk an extra few feet and it can get awefully cold in the winter!

I'm starting to come to the conclusion that this city is run by a bunch of idiots that couldn't climb out of a shoe box. And as I said previously in this post, no wonder this city's broke!

So let me get this straight: the traffic engineer, making upwards of $90,000, is "betwixt and between" on how to rectify the Trinity traffic problem and Mayor Bramson wants the Traffic Committee, a group of volunteers, to solve the problem which PAID PROFESSIONALS can't decipher? There is definitely something terribly wrong with this picture!

This morning I observed the drop off zone at Trinity school from 8:10-8:35am. I parked midblock between Pelham Road and Davenport Road on Church Street. I noticed the many parents using the drop off zone.

I positioned myself so that I could count cars performing u-turns both within the drop off zone and further towards the Sound out of the drop off zone.

I counted 30 cars making u-turns within the drop off zone during that time period. Along Church Street, but out of the drop off zone, I counted 6 u-Turns.

I think a no U-Turn sign is reasonable in this location. After putting up the sign, I would recommend a police officer offering warnings to motorists that make the u-turns and also to hand out a recommended travel path as determined by the city. Then I would recommend enforcement of the signage for increased safety and better traffic flow. Remember that there are over 850 students at Trinity and safety should be a priority.

If the no u-turn sign does not help and people disregard the signage and continue to make u-turns, particularly within the drop off zone, the city should consider making the stretch of Church Street to Davenport Road a one way out during school arrival and dismissal hours. There are one way streets during school hours at Jefferson, Daniel Webster and Barnard as examples.

I listened to the video posted on the NR city website and think the council silently vetoed the no u-turn signage because they don't want to encourage additional traffic in their neighborhoods,though these neighborhoods have public roads. That is only my opinion. The commentary begins at 2:22 on the videotape here:

I just received a phone call (robo call, not personal) from the principal at Daniel Webster. He said starting Monday they are making some change to the traffic pattern, it is irelevant what the pattern change actually was. (No right turn during arrival on some street) the important aspect was that the police would be stationed there giving warnings first and then tickets (a substantial fine as he stated, with points).
Now Daniel Webster has about 500 students and Trinity has over 850. The traffic at Trinity is ALWAYS a disaster with people parking all over the place, taxis picking up and dropping off in the middle Pelhalm Road, double parking and U-Turns galore.
I have to ask this, was the new pattern (with Police Enforcement!!) first sent to the city council, then booted to the traffic committee, where they made a lightening fast decision, which the city then embraced and resourced?
A perfect example of the south end getting the short end of the stick again. Thank you Mayor Bramson, Commissioner Carrol, Superintendant Organisciak and Mr. Williams (principal) for proving that the New Rochelle government can solve a traffic problem at a school when it is in the right neighborhood.

If you read the agenda here:

http://www.newrochelleny.com/archives/36/OCT%202010%20COW%20AGENDA.pdf

You will see on page 5 that the Trinity traffic issue of no u-turns on Church was discussed. On page 8 the Daniel Webster item appears, no right turns for Calhoun Ave. approach at the intersection with Glenmore be prohibited during certain hours.

It is true that the Daniel Webster item passed and the Trinity item was not. The traffic engineer was "betwixt an between" after the item had study, approval and recommendation by him, the Acting Commissioner of Public Works and the City Manager.

Why did one pass and not the other? They both directly relate to drop off procedures at elementary schools in New Rochelle. Both on the same agenda of the same council meeting. Both getting the same approvals and recommendations, etc.

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