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Parkside traffic issues

I attended a meeting the other night where possible solutions to the horrible traffic situation around Parkside were offered.
  To say I was disappointed is an understatement.  For openers, no member of the city council was present, no member of the school board was present, and the superintendent was not present.
The solutions were discussed by an architect that the district had hired to come up with some alternatives to how traffic is channeled.  That means all of these solutions cost a great deal of taxpayer dollars, some more than others.
  What was more disappointing is that by his own admission the architect had never visited the school in the morning, one of the peak traffic times, no one had any idea how many cars deliver kids or pick kids up, the representative of the district did not know how many staff parking places there were before construction began, the representative of the district stated that there was significant student population growth expected at Parkside but did not know the total capacity of the school and what the district's alternative was once that capacity was reached.  
  The architect touted a couple of options that he said would take 6-10 cars off the road every two minutes during peak hours, yet he had no idea how many cars needed to be serviced.
It was pretty obvious that neither the representative of the district nor the architect had any idea of traffic flow in the community.  A couple of plans called for channeling traffic down Niles towards Oak which is head on into the St. Roberts crush in the morning. The architect had no idea of where the eastern border of the school was.
No non construction alternatives were discussed, such as a staggered start for 6th graders, bus service, (the district representative did respond to a question about buses saying parents wanted to drop their kids off at school personally) stricter traffic enforcement, limited parking hours and countless other alternatives.
  It seems as if the district has made up their minds that the solution lies in spending up to a million dollars in attempting to mitigate this problem but has not done the research, planning and polling to do this the right way.  Yet the board will be presented with the four options and the next meeting and will be asked to make their choices.   I suppose once we throw money at a problem we can say "we tried".

Karin Cunningham December 06, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Wow, that really stinks! I'm glad you you said something!
Patrick Flynn December 06, 2013 at 05:40 PM
I agree that this wasn't handled as well as it should have been. I am a member of the school board and I was present. There were 2 other board members present. We as a Board aren't allowed to speak unless the meeting is properly noticed per Brown act requirements. We were there to listen. I for one understand the frustration and will be speaking to my concerns at the Board meeting on the 11th at Crestmoor school. The meeting will also be televised on San Bruno Cable.
Heidi Beck December 06, 2013 at 06:04 PM
These meetings are also going on for traffic problems at El Crystal and John Muir. I attended the El Crystal meeting (didn't see anyone from the board there, but maybe I overlooked someone). My kids went to El Crystal and Parkside, and attended GATE summer school at John Muir several times. The architect can talk all he wants about how these alternative plans can help educate parents to follow a more rational dropoff/pickup, but the ONLY thing that is going to work, in my opinion, is police presence and traffic enforcement. Only if parents are hit in the wallet with traffic tickets for selfish, stupid and unsafe behavior behind the wheel will it stop. Having parent and teacher volunteers helping guide traffic doesn't do a thing -- people will do what they want to do and cuss and swear at the volunteers. But if the cops start showing up in force every now and then and start handing out tickets, that might have an actual effect.
John devincenzi December 06, 2013 at 06:20 PM
My apologies Mr. Flynn it is nice to know there were board members there, I apologize for not knowing your faces, they should have acknowledged you. I do understand the Brown Act implications. Heidi I do agree with you. Consistent, strict enforcement is absolutely necessary to protect the safety of the students and residents alike. That was certainly a source of my frustration, that the district was not offering any recommendations that deal with the problem other than rectifying the mistakes they made by not planning adequately , especially relative to parking for staff.
Mark Taylor December 06, 2013 at 06:28 PM
I am often on the 140 that goes over to Parkside in morning. I think the only way at this point is to declare certain streets one way going in or out of Niles in the morning and afternoon. It is chaos with cars coming in and buses trying to get through. And sometimes the bus drivers screw up and fail follow the correct route (up to Hawthorne, down Niles, out at Maple). You need a real police presence to go after people who fail to yield to pedestrians, impede traffic, and otherwise make it difficult to navigate that area in a timely fashion. You see SBPD sometimes but not often.
Mark December 06, 2013 at 07:17 PM
I too was at the meeting and share some of the same opinions mentioned above. However, I thought that some of the options presented by the architect would alleviate some of the madness that is Parkside drop-off & pick-up. This meeting was setup to share these ideas with us not to listen to everybody's complaints about the traffic. The problems are well documented. That is why they hired the architect in the first place. This whole mess was created by the previous designer's lack of foresight and a subsequent bad design that we are all living with now. The district realizes there is a problem and is trying to fix it. At least they are doing something. I do agree that Dr. Hutt should of been present and at least someone from Parkside's administration as well. I don't believe there is any non-construction solution to this problem. There is a police presence at the peak times more often than not and they do their best to educate people and they definitely hand out tickets. Putting more police there would only make the situation worse. What they need is a functional drop-off lane that people will use instead of avoid. Using the area in front of the gym as a second drop-off area will help too. Utilizing the space east of the gym as another parking lot will help get more cars off the street as well. Let's get the design right this time and it will get better. At least then we can all go on to complaining about something else!
John devincenzi December 06, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Mark I commend the district for trying to address the problems. I do respectfully disagree with your perception, there are several non construction remedies including a staggered start and finish for sixth grade, I doubt whether there is a policeence two days a week. That is not necessarily a criticism of the police department. I AM SURE their resources are already spread thin. The presentors the other night had no idea how many cars move through the neighborhood at peak times. How can you possibly plan a relief of congestion when you have no idea how many cars you need to move. They did not seem to realize that channeling traffic towards Oak creates a log jam. With St Roberts, they suggested a parking lot with the potential of dumping over 100 cars onto Donner which would be a serious hazard on that extremely narrow street. I think we have the right to complain when up to a million dollars will be spent mitigating the problem without caeful planning nd a complete understanding of the current problem and how that problem will grow in the future.their lack of data, admission thety had not been present at one of the peak times, offering one suggestion that reduces the number of staff parking spaces that are already inadequete all indicate that they either do not understand or are not listening.
Howard Dade December 07, 2013 at 02:24 PM
How about encouraging kids to walk or create a drop off area 2-3 blocks away? Dropping everyone off at the school entrance seems to be unrealistic.
bob b December 07, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Why don't you get together and make your own group and start a schedule to control the problem. Just make sure you contact police dept. Since the council doesn't want to be involve with school issues.
Chris Kiely December 07, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Good to see discussions like this on Patch. Thanks.
Kate Freeman December 16, 2013 at 08:17 AM
I have walked dogs in this area when the traffic is in full force-and it's a wonder there aren't MORE accidents and other mishaps. These people need to get together and start CARPOOLING!!! The amount of cars that don't need to be there is disgusting, and you're not telling me that all of these people are coming from such far away places that they can't get together and work out a good carpool system.

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