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Home Government Ditch the Car and Walk: City Council and Board of Ed Meet...

Ditch the Car and Walk: City Council and Board of Ed Meet on Traffic and Pedestrian Safety

City Clerk Dawn F. Nodarse sent out a mother lode of meeting minutes the other day. We’ll first review the joint meeting of the city council and the board of education held at Rye Middle School on April 12, 2008.

The meeting was precipitated by concerns around traffic and pedestrian safety after a student was struck by a car on March 10th resulting in a broken leg. The city and its trail ways committee has also been looking for ways to encourage (and make it easier and safer for) residents to walk more.

Rye traffic czar Brian Dempsey reported there is a 15 minute problem around the Middle School / High School in the morning at drop off time and in the afternoon at dismissal time. The police officer or parking enforcement officer at the Milton Road / Apawamis Avenue intersection currently directs traffic from four directions and parents continue to drop children off in the middle of Milton Road.

Dempsey presented two options for changing traffic flow patterns during drop off and pick up times. Both plans call for an expansion of the current drop off area on Parsons Street; the addition of bollards on Milton Road at Apawamis Avenue; prohibition of left turns from Apawamis Avenue onto Milton Road; the addition of a crosswalk on Apawamis Avenue and construction of a right turn slip ramp onto Milton Road beyond the tennis courts. The plans differ in the following ways:

Option “A”:
Allow traffic into and out of the Middle School parking lot entrance on Parsons Street;
Reverse the flow of traffic into the school property at Milton Road.

Option “B”:
Drop off traffic on Parsons Street would enter and exit at different locations;
Create a new driveway on Milton Road that would maintain the current traffic pattern at the Milton/Apawamis area.

The other option is to ditch the car and walk. Dempsey encouraged walking and bicycling to school at a younger age.  Dr. Ed Shine, superintendent of schools, said that the safe routes committee is encouraging a return to children walking to school.

Both the Council and the BOE agreed one of the options presented by Dempsey should be implemented as a pilot program in September. The school board will forward suggestions to their architect and follow up with a work session and will then come back to the city council with an option recommendation.

Watch for trail ways, walking, bicycling and pedestrian safety to come into focus as major issues in Rye for 2008 and 2009.

City Council, Board of Education and staff in attendance included:

Council Members
Steve Otis, Mayor
Andrew Ball
Mack Cunningham
Paula Gamache
Catherine Parker
George Pratt
Joe Sack

Board of Education
James Culyer, President
Josh Nathan, Vice President
Kendall Eagan
Ed Fox
Laura Slack
Bob Zahm

Ed Shine, Superintendent of Schools
Paul Shew, City Manager
Scott Pickup, Assistant City Manager
Bill Connors, Police Commissioner
Bill Rodriguez, Recreation Dept. Supervisor
Brian Dempsey, Chair, Traffic and Transportation Committee


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