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Greenwich OKs Parking, Traffic Fixes for School

GREENWICH, Conn. – A long-awaited plan to improve safety for students getting out of cars and buses at North Street School and to keep traffic from backing up was unanimously approved Tuesday by Greenwich’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

“The children’s safety is the key for us,” North Street School Co-PTA President Kerrie Steelerubin told the commission. “We have supported this project from the start.”

The project will be divided into two phases, said landscape architect Dominick Celtruda, of Diversified Technology Consultants of Hamden. The first phase, focused on safety, is estimated to cost $385,000. The second phase will expand parking from 77 to 100 spaces.

“We want to concentrate on the safety issues first this year once students are out of school, and then on parking expansion the following summer,” Celtruda, representing the school board, told the commission at Town Hall.

The nearly yearlong delay in advancing the plan was due mostly to land-use issues, including Tree Warden Bruce Spaman’s ruling that a white pine tree slated to be cut down as part of the plan must be spared.

“The commission was ready to act last June, but the entire proposal had to be reconfigured,” said Planning and Zoning Director Diane Fox.

The parking lot redesign and repaving will help traffic flow at the school as well as along North Street. Traffic backups occur every morning and afternoon, Fox said. The plan will establish separate lanes and parking areas for buses and cars in the parking lot, she said.

"Currently the North Street parking lot does not meet the needs of the school. This project is intended to improve poor traffic flow and insufficient parking. In addition, there is poor drainage and (sight) lines in the parking area," according to the town’s Capital Improvement Plan.

“This reconfiguration will allow a safer and more orderly drop-off and pickup of students and will separate this function from bus traffic,” school officials said in the plan’s application.

The bus drop-off loop will be narrowed to discourage passing, and the loop will be lengthened to allow enough space for buses to line up. Improved lighting will also be added to “ensure safety for pedestrians and vehicles,” the application states.

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