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District Mulls Solutions to Bailey Traffic Problem

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – School administrators are considering a pricey parking lot makeover as they look for ways to relieve the dangerous traffic problem at a Hillside Avenue elementary school.

On Thursday, Greenburgh Central 7’s Board of Education entertained a team of architects who showed off preliminary plans to rework the way cars make their way around Richard J. Bailey Elementary.

Next week the board is expected to choose one of three options, which range from rerouting a traffic circle to a full-fledged makeover of the elementary campus.

No matter which plan is chosen, something needs to be done, KG&D architect Russell Davidson told the board.

“There is no way it can be dealt with by more (crossing) monitors,” he said. “These are design problems. There is too much happening in too little of a space.”

The problem happens during pickup and drop-off times, he said. Cars are trying to get in and out of the lots, often ignoring one-way signs, and competing with school buses for space.

“It’s not really a good situation,” Davidson told the board. “And we feel it’s a potentially dangerous situation.”

R.J. Bailey Principal Marguerite Clarkson agreed.

“To me this is a safety issue,” she said. “Even the monitors are in danger now.”

The cheapest of the three plans starts at $350,000, while the most expensive tops  out at $680,000.

At Thursday’s work session Clarkson voiced her support for proposal two. For $520,000 the plan would reroute a circular drive on the side of the school.

The proposal also includes a widening of the drives that wrap around R.J. Bailey, restriping the parking lot and adding lights to the staff parking lot.

Crews would install a waist-high divider along the road behind the school, separating traffic and funneling students into a single path to cross the lot.

“I think it’s the best option,” Clarkson said. “It makes the students safer.”

No matter what project is selected, the work is expected to take six to eight weeks to complete, Davidson said. Ideally, work would begin in the summer and continue into the fall, he said.

Assistant Superintendent Ed Joseph said the project can be paid in part with a $120,000 grant the school has already received.

The remaining funds would be taken from savings in the 2011-12 budget, he said.

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