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Notes from 11/30 & 12/01 Mtgs. re: ECS

Notes from Tuesday, November 31 Mtg @ ECS, Regent Square

Submitted by Jim Lenkner

The meeting at ECS focused on the traffic study and plans.  Essentially car pickup and drop-off will be from both sides of the building with reserved loading zones on Waverly and Brashear.  All buses will use the front entrance on S. Braddock Avenue, which will become a no-parking area.  Buses will not wait on S. Braddock Avenue but will be staged from the parking lot near the tennis courts on S. Braddock and called to pick up kids as they are ready to board.  Morning arrivals will drop-off students and depart immediately.  The study and plan was based on a maximum student capacity of 234 with 19 permanent staff.  There will be two kindergartens and one each of grades one thru three.

A parking study conducted on September 15 showed that on the streets surrounding the school, Waverly, East End and Brashear, a minimum of 35 open street parking spaces were counted between the hours of 8 and 4 – suggesting that if parents needed to park for short periods during drop-off times or for daytime meetings, there would be ample on-street parking available.

Evening events will be scheduled with attention given to the Shadyside Academy schedule.  ECS will supply their calendar to GPPNA for posting or linking.  A transportation coordinator will be designated to handle all logistics and issues that may arise.  Any evening event will be conducted with ECS staff outside to facilitate parking.

Traffic plan for Park Place School

Traffic plan for Park Place School

(Click on image, and then again to see it larger.)

You can also review the complete Revised Traffic and Parking Study, or see highlights below:

Transportation Management Plan (TMP) (excerpted from full traffic plan)

  1. School start time will occur at 9:00 A.M.
  2. Off-duty police officers will be provided from 8:15 A.M. to 9:15 A.M. and from 3:45 P.M. to 4:45 P.M. on all regular school days for the purpose of traffic control at the intersections of South Braddock Avenue with Waverly Street and with Brashear Street . Off-duty police officer shifts are served in four-hour increments so other duties that could be provided by these officers will be discussed with City representatives.
  3. During all arrivals and dismissals, students will be supervised by ECS staff and escorted to/from the school and/or School Loading Zones
  4. Students will use the front entrance on South Braddock Avenue for all arrivals and dismissals, supervised by ECS staff.
  5. Parents/guardians will be permitted to drop-off students only at the designated School Loading Zones on Waverly Street and Brashear Street , prior to the start of school.
  6. School buses, mini-buses, and vans will be permitted to drop off students only at the designated School Loading Zone on South Braddock Avenue , prior to the start of school.
  7. School dismissal time will occur at 4:00 P.M. for school buses, mini-buses, and vans.
  8. School dismissal time will occur at 4:15 P.M. for Parent/guardian pick-up.
  9. School buses, mini-buses, and vans will be permitted to pick-up students upon dismissal only at the designated School Loading Zone on South Braddock Avenue .
  10. All school buses, mini-buses, and vans will be staged on the western side of South Braddock Avenue , between Biddle Avenue and Guthrie Street , prior to student bus dismissal. The school vehicles will be radioed for pick up at the proposed ECS by ECS Staff.
  11. Parents/guardians will be permitted to pick up students at the designated School Loading Zones on both Waverly Street and Brashear Street .
  12. If School Loading Zones are fully occupied, parents/guardians will be permitted to park and wait in the available existing on-street parking spaces along Brashear Street, East End Avenue, and Waverly Street . Parents/guardians will be directed to the School Loading Zones, as space becomes available, by ECS Staff.
  13. Parents/guardians will be instructed not to park along South Braddock Avenue at any time.
  14. Parents/guardians will be reminded that no parking is permitted at any time in front of existing residential driveways.
  15. Student drop-off and pick-up will only be permitted in the designated School Loading Zones.
  16. At the start of each semester, a document will be distributed to all Parents/guardians of the students at ECS with directions detailing the student drop-off and pick-up procedure.A copy of this document will be posted and will be on file in the ECS office.
  17. Bus companies will be informed of the transportation management plan aspects that pertain to bus/minivan operations at least annually just prior to the start of the school year.
  18. The ECS will designate a Transportation Coordinator to be a point of contact for the neighborhood, parents, bus companies and the City of Pittsburgh for all transportation related questions and comments.
  19. ECS will coordinate with SSA regarding scheduling of major evening/special events at the school.
  20. After the first 2-3 months of operation of the ECS school facility, ECS will provide a report to the City documenting the effectiveness of the TMP and identifying proposed modifications to the measures specified in the TMP. The evolution of continued use of off-duty police officers will be included in this report. In addition, possible substitution of school crossing guards for the off-duty police officers may be considered at that time.

Notes from Wednesday, December 1 Neighborhood Mtg w/Councilman Burgess on ECS

Submitted by Joni Rabinowitz

On Wednesday Dec. 10, 2010 Councilman Ricky Burgess held a community meeting at St. Bede’s on Dallas to hear the opinions of the community members about the plans for ECS (Environmental Charter School). Since he will eventually be voting on ECS’s request for conditional use of the Park Place School building, Ricky is beginning the process now, to hear from his constituents.

About 75 people were there, and those who spoke in favor slightly out-numbered those who spoke against the plan.  Those in favor (which included about 5 parents or grandparents of ECS students, some of whom don’t live in the council district) made the following points:

  • Although ECS is not a neighborhood school, it is a great benefit to the community; good schools increase property value, also
  • ECS provides a way for people to meet and interact with their neighbors (18 ECS students live in Park Place)
  • ECS wishes to partner with the community to improve the natural environment- they teach about nature- we should work with them
  • Altho there will be additional traffic, parking problems, and noise, these are part of city living and shouldn’t prevent us from having a good school. ECS has made some changes in their plans to meet objections by residents. There will be police to direct traffic before and after school.

Those speaking against the plan, who primarily live within close proximity to Park Place School or directly across Braddock, made these points:

  • Traffic there is already a nightmare.  With Braddock being the official route from the parkway to Childrens Hospital, and the approved route for 2 years while the Squirrel Hill tunnel is being repaired, this can only get worse.
  • Traffic already drives on Waverly and Brashear — esp. during peack hours –to avoid Penn
  • Parking spaces will be at a premium during after- school programs (every day) and evening programs.
  • There are already 2 accidents a week on Braddock
  • It’s wrong for for-profit companies (lilke Imagine!) to be spending our tax monies which should be going to our public schools

Ricky thanked the residents for coming out and making their opinions known. He said although he supports charter schools, he is committed to both sides in this debate. He wants to help us find a middle ground, if there is one. He’s committed to an open, transparent process and is deeply concerned about how we feel. He plans to spend more time in the community learning about how people feel about this, and asked people to invite him to their homes to talk about it. The process now is that Zoning Commission hold a hearing and vote next Tuesday at 2pm. They will consider the immediate neighbors, the broader community and the law, when making their decision. If they recommend conditional use of the building, it then goes to Council. Before Council’s vote, council will hold a public hearing.

1 comment to Notes from 11/30 & 12/01 Mtgs. re: ECS

  • terryg

    This is not good enough. There must be parking in front of the school after 5pm for local residents or purchase the dilapidated house on Waverly behind the school and use that for visitor/employee parking. When I come home in the evening and
    I was unable to attend either of the meetings regarding this issue, so I must voice my concerns here. If I cannot get a space across the street from my house in the 200 block of South Braddock (which I frequently can’t), I can safely park in front of the school. It is well lit and well traveled. Those of us that live on South Braddock Ave. in the immediate vicinity of the school may be a minority in the neighborhood at large, but I think our needs should be of a more pressing concern to Councilman Burgess and the private school that wishes to locate on a busy street with little on street parking to begin with. I and several of my neighbors are going to be forced to park our vehicles several blocks away from our houses if this goes through as proposed. And the effect of traffic in the area has that really been throughly studied? During school dates and times? As it is currently configured, doesn’t the property bring in taxes to the City and County? As far as I am concerned if the building were to stay in its current configuration, none of us would be worse off.

    Sincerely,

    Terence J. Golightly
    208 South Braddock Ave.