Drop-off drama continues at Quaker Valley High School
By Bobby Cherry
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Quaker Valley School District administrators continue wrestling with drop-off problems at the district's high school in Leetsdale.
A shuttle-bus system administrators touted last month as one way to help solve the ongoing problem has ended because they didn't think it worked. Students continue to be dropped off in front of the school on Beaver Street.
About 40 drivers dropped off 46 students on Beaver Street — either stopping traffic in the road; pulling next to cones prohibiting drop-offs; or pulling up to where a sign says “No parking, school hours” or in front of the first few homes toward Victory Lane — between 7 and 7:50 a.m. on Sept. 18, Sewickley Herald staffers observed.
In addition, Herald staffers noticed during that time span four people using a stone driveway behind homes next to the high school to drop off students.
No school personnel or Leetsdale police were present in front of the school on Beaver Street.
The school's resource officer manages “traffic on campus, behind the school, where students are walking up the hill and crossing the driveway where buses must travel,” Superintendent Joseph Clapper said.
“Under the current campus configuration, there is no permanent solution for traffic (and) pedestrian safety along Beaver Street.”
In the past, Leetsdale police officers have provided assistance during morning drop-off and afternoon dismissal, said Clapper, calling their assistance “effective and greatly appreciated.”
The shuttle-bus system's last day of operation was Sept. 19, Clapper said.
It was one of the many interim recommendations presented by a traffic study committee that met in the winter and spring months and presented ideas to school board members and administrators in June.
The traffic safety committee grew from residents' opposition to the district purchasing two nearby homes in 2012.
School board members and administrators said they purchased the homes to consider using the property for a parking lot and bus drop-off zone.
A third home would be needed to connect the properties.
Among the committee's recommendations were the addition of on-campus stop signs, elimination of some on-campus parking spaces to enhance visibility, and repainting crosswalks and fire lanes.
“Unfortunately, these efforts have not eliminated the traffic-safety issues along Beaver Street,” Clapper said.
Leetsdale Council President Joe McGurk said he has not observed drop-off times at the high school this school year. He did monitor traffic last year.
Aside from updating lighting along Beaver Street, McGurk said, he was unsure what borough officials might do to curb drop-off issues.
“We don't have any plans in place,” he said.
Clapper said he appreciated the work of the borough and police.
“There is no easy solution to this complex problem,” he said.
Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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