With only one week remaining before the board of education is scheduled to vote on the amount of money, now stated to be about $65,000,000, for a new bond, I find it completely unfathomable that they have not yet engaged and utilized the services of a professional traffic planning consultant.
The revised facilities plan that the board of education has developed will add approximately 650 more students and 125 plus staff members to the already overloaded Weber-Schreiber-Campus Drive area. This will, not only, have a catastrophic effect on the school district's own roads, grounds and parking areas; but will also have a tremendous and a long-lasting effect on the surrounding roads, homes and businesses, as well as on the entire Port Washington community.
Anyone who has ever been on Port Washington Boulevard or the surrounding streets when the students are arriving or being dismissed knows about the unsafe conditions, chaos and interminable delays that result. This situation will become many times worse once these increased populations are on site. Other plans the board rejected would not have created these problems.
Many questions remain to be answered before any plan is finalized. Although it is planned that traffic will also exit onto St. Johns Place and Bogart Avenue, will these prove sufficient? Where will the many more necessary permanent parking spaces for staff and visitors go? Will more roads have to be created? What will be the additional cost? If, as Dr. Inserra has said, this very likely will result in a loss of one of the playing fields, will there still be appropriate space left for the activities of the physical education program on these grounds? Where would a new field go, and what would be its cost? If the portables now planned for temporary use at Weber are eventually moved to the administration area for shops what further impact will this have on the parking/traffic situation? What will happen in regard to student parking? What will be the traffic impact on the surrounding streets? What additional police resources will have to be provided and again what will be this additional cost?
In addition, during the period of construction where will the construction workers park? What arrangements for ground space will be made for the delivery and storage of materials, etc? Where and how large will the construction staging areas be? What impact will these have on the delivery of the daily school program?
It is unconscionable that the board has not yet publicly addressed these questions, nor invited representatives of the surrounding neighborhoods, not only in this area, but in the vicinity of the other schools where traffic or parking changes will take place, to meet with them. While the police have been involved in rudimentary efforts to resolve these problems much more needs to be done. It is imperative that the board hire a professional traffic planner to assist in trying to work out cost effective solutions which will provide for the safety and well being of all in the Port Washington community.
Gregory J. Schroeder