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Traffic study needed for proposed school campus

I wholeheartedly agree with a recent Letter to the Editor regarding the deficiencies in the planning process for the proposed consolidated school campus. We seem to be rushing to the altar so that we can get the preferred funding from the state but if we are building something without fully knowing what is involved I’m not sure our tax payer dollars will be well spent.

My main concern as someone who lives on Colegate is the ever increasing stream of traffic that makes this a major artery. The four proposed entrances all have disadvantages. Two are located less than 500′ from the stop light at Colegate and Glendale where the fire department is also located. This light regularly backs up at peak times. The other site out Glendale extension takes you thru a slalom that would be difficult to negotiate in the winter months in a bus or car on a regular basis for the volume of traffic. The 4th proposed entrance is potentially utilizing some access road off the Washington State Campus and I assume using their existing entrance. I would think this would be a liability nightmare for Washington State as students, buses and other school traffic stream in and out along with their own student population.

Let’s talk numbers provided by the Levy Committee: 2300 students. One campus. 99% are eligible for busing. 99%. Staggered start times may help a little but this will not be a campus that will be biked or walked to due to the high traffic area. I went back to the Marietta SRTS Study Plan from 2010. They did a survey of school parents and found the following statistics: Washington School – 16% bused; 33% walked; 42% family dropped off; Harmar 68% bused; 13% walked; 18% family dropped off; Phillips 54% bused; 1% walked 33% family dropped off; Marietta Middle School 46% bused; 17% walked 25% family dropped off. Those were the only 4 schools in the study but what it showed is that about 50% of the students were bused in the K-8th Grade. The other major transportation category was family drop off except in the case of Washington which was central to residential areas so had a number of walkers. Where this is leading is that the proposed new plan is going to have to add more buses, high school student drivers and parents of elementary and middle school students all funneling into an artery that is already congested at times.

The Levy Committee has allocated funds to deal with a traffic study for after they get funded. It’s a “we’ll make the shoe fit” type of planning. There is a high probability that lights will back up at Greene, Seventh, Muskingum and, of course, Glendale/Colegate. There will be street widening, how much? Who knows? There are no answers. My concerns may be alleviated if there was a traffic study and preliminary plans to show mitigation.

I went to one of the information meetings but there really weren’t any good answers for my concerns. Basically, I was told that there will be additional congestion as there is around any school and that money has been allocated to try to deal with it. AFTER IT IS FUNDED. The traffic logistics are going to affect more than just a few.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand there is a need for investment into the school infrastructure but I can’t support something blindly without having more of a plan. Having someone tell me we will come up with the answer after we get your money doesn’t get my vote of confidence or on the ballot.

Kathryn Ortt

Marietta