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Shuttle, carpooling suggested for Penn-Trafford graduation

| Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Be prepared to ride a shuttle to Penn-Trafford High School's graduation this year if you're not a senior or a senior's parent.

Penn-Trafford officials are planning to set up four new satellite parking lots as they try to segregate graduation-related traffic from the arrival of dozens of softball teams for a Memorial Day weekend tournament at Penn Township Municipal Park.

Otherwise, athletic director Kerry Hetrick said, district officials are encouraging “a lot of carpooling” when the double-booked community events happen on the same night — May 23 — for the second straight year.

Aiming to lessen the chance for another potential traffic jam, the district plans to offer shuttle buses from Harrison Park Elementary School, St. Barbara Catholic Church, Community United Methodist Church and Christian Life Church starting around 4:30 p.m., which is two hours before commencement starts.

Another 150 parking spaces near the municipal building and Penn Area Library will be open for graduation parking via Walnut Street, while people coming for the Penn Township Athletic Association, tournament will be required to enter the park from Raymaley Road.

Each graduating senior will receive two parking passes. Only drivers with passes and people with a physical disability will be permitted to park at one of the 500 spots on the high school campus, Hetrick said.

“At this point, I really feel we're putting enough out there to give everyone an opportunity,” he said.

The shuttle plan is the district's answer to the clogging of vehicles that occurred on Route 130 in Harrison City last year because of the convergence of events. School officials have said they don't intend to reschedule commencement.

The situation might be aggravated further this year because of construction on Harrison City-Export Road, which is three-tenths of a mile from the high school.

Police will be stationed at the school entrance on Route 130, Hetrick said, and electronic signs will be posted on the state highway to give drivers directions about parking.

Members of PTAA also plan to have volunteers scattered to funnel tournament-goers to the right parking area in the park, group president Brad Yamrick said. The group also is considering placing signs on Route 130 to help to reduce traffic issues.

The annual tournament is a huge draw, with about 50 teams already registered for this year. About 730 players from 71 teams played last year, Yamrick said.

“We're going to do everything we can to minimize the impact and maximize the enjoyment of that evening,” Yamrick said.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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