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Quaker Valley directors review traffic report

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Quaker Valley school directors said on Tuesday there will be no immediate action following the release this week of a report detailing ideas to reduce traffic congestion and improve safety for students at the high school in Leetsdale.

The district formed a traffic safety advisory committee in January, following nearly a year of debate over Quaker Valley's purchase of two homes, and attempts to buy a third, near the high school. Initial plans called for construction of a parking lot and student drop-off area.

But school officials and owners of property at 700 Beaver St., adjacent to the high school, haven't been able to reach an agreement. This is the last property remaining between the high school and the two acquired properties.

The 18-member traffic safety committee suggested a variety of options, including scaling back brush along an entrance to the high school campus on Beaver Street and redesigning a hillside roadway to offer pedestrian and vehicle traffic access.

Other ideas included a parking garage and petitioning PennDOT for signage along Route 65 near the school.

Some committee members questioned whether the school's location along a hillside above Route 65 is suitable for the campus, committee spokesman Jason Richey said.

“Is this where you want the high school for the next 50 years?” Richey asked board members. He provided a personal 10-page report on the school's location and suggested district leaders consider finding a 40- or 50-acre parcel in the district to consider a new campus.

Committee member Tom Weber submitted what he called a “corrected” version of the report, claiming the report submitted to the board supports the administration's attempts to purchase and demolish homes near the school.

“These final recommendations bear the mark of the administration's view and completely omit the most critical conclusion,” Weber said, adding that the home purchases had nothing to do with traffic safety but are a “convenience issue.” School leaders said no opinions were omitted.

Board members said the report will be reviewed. No timetable was given on implementing any recommendations.

A traffic consultant's study released last October offered various options, including the parking lot and improvements made to front, rear and side areas of the school.

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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