Massena school looking for parking solutions
BY JEFF CHUDZINSKI
North Country This Week
MASSENA — Parking at J.W. Leary Junior High School continues to be a problem for parents and bus drivers alike and village trustees are searching for a solution.
According to Mayor Greg Paquin, parents are not using the pickup and drop-off lane behind the school as instructed and are parking in sections that have been designated “no parking” zones. Signs were installed to designate these areas to ensure the traffic flow was not interrupted, according to Paquin.“Not liking that, now what the parents are doing is they’re going out the front and parking on School Street, kind of across and around the corner. It’s blocking buses trying to get out, and kids are darting across to get to the cars. It’s dangerous,” he said.
The issues have been reported to Paquin many times, with numerous complaints being sent to him, which are then forwarded to the school district and Chief of Police Jason Olson.
But the solution some people think would fix the issue isn’t an easy one to implement.
According to Paquin and Olson, if “no parking” signs were put up in the zones in question those signs would actually be in resident’s yards.
Most complaints this school year are from the bus drivers, Paquin told the board.
Olson also voiced concerns, including with the potential placement of the signs, saying signs could create another problem which would compound on the existing issues.
Deputy Mayor Matt LeBire asked if the district was considering putting the signs up in the problematic area.
“No, they’ve never said that. But, I’m just saying the complaints I get, it’s from the bus drivers. I get them because I think the bus drivers have tried to talk to people that are considered their bosses, but nothing’s getting done, and I’m not really sure what they can do,” Paquin said.
While Paquin suggested a police officer should sit in the area as pickup and drop-off took place, Chief Olson said it wouldn’t do much good from a legal standpoint because officers could do little more than to ask a vehicle to move.
“If it’s not designated ‘no parking,’ then we really have no teeth behind it. If it is, then certainly we do,” Olson said.
While many complaints have been centered around the afternoon traffic, Trustee Christine Winston said morning drop-offs have been problematic as well.
Winston questioned whether the district should look into staggering drop-off and pickup times slightly to ease the traffic flow, saying parents who are on their way to work don’t have a spare 30 minutes to wait sometimes.
Another issue Winston pointed out was the inability for junior high students to enter the school before 7:20 a.m.
School requirements mean students must be in the building by 7:30 a.m., offering a tight window for students to be dropped off and let into school.
Trustees suggested the possibility of an early morning program which would allow students to enter school prior to 7:20 a.m.
“Sounds like there’s some possibilities the school could look at,” LeBire said.
Village Administrator Monique Chatland commented that traffic from School Street to Nightengale Elementary School was also a concern, one that the district was aware of.
According to Chatland, she received an email from Superintendent Pat Brady, who said a meeting with junior high officials would be held soon to discuss the issues.