Riverview junior proposes solution to combat parking woes near Oakmont Bakery
Riverview High School junior Molly Collins wants to make sure her fellow students have a place to park while Oakmont Bakery officials work out some traffic issues.
She launched an online petition to have about 30 spaces at Riverside Park, next to the high school, be designated student parking from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. As of Feb. 22, more than 630 people had signed the petition since its posting earlier this month.
Oakmont owns the park and its spaces are open to the public. The bakery’s secondary parking lot is across from the proposed student parking site.
“It’s public property, but the students have been unofficially parking there for 30 years since Riverview High School opened,” said Collins, 17. “It’s getting to be a really big problem. It’s getting really chaotic down there, and it’s only going to get worse (with sports coming up).”
Oakmont Bakery opened its new location at the intersection of Third Street and Hulton Road, across from the high school’s bus loop, on Feb. 5.
The borough sent PennDOT a letter the following day and two traffic engineers visited the site in response to traffic complaints.
Oakmont officials hope the state grants a request to prohibit left turns from Hulton Road onto Third Street between 7 and 9 a.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m. on weekdays so police can put a physical barrier on Third Street during arrival and dismissal times.
Owner Marc Serrao met with Oakmont police Chief Michael Ford this month to discuss possible parking solutions. More signs were installed at the high school and in the bakery lots. Staffers were used during some of the busier times to help direct customers.
“We also added some parking information to our Facebook page and website,” Serrao said via email Feb. 19. “Our primary concern has always been safety for the high school kids. It seems that people are getting accustomed to the traffic patterns and parking lots.
“Each week we get a little more organized and customers seem to get more comfortable with the new building. Our staff has been absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t appreciate them more.”
Molly brought her petition before council Feb. 18.
“She did a good job,” interim borough Manager Harry Dilmore said. “It’s nice when young people get involved with something. To ignore it would be totally wrong. We’ve got to do something.”
Council did not take any action on the issue at the meeting.
“Council will take that under advisement,” President William Benusa said. “We’re well aware of the situation down there. It is ongoing. We understand parking is an issue for the students.”
Michele Slebrich, who has two boys at the high school, said student parking would help a lot of district families.
“There’s nowhere else for these kids to park,” she said. “Up to the bakery opening, there has never been an issue or concern (about student parking).”
Resident Kassandra Stotler said she sympathized with the student’s plight, but was concerned about permit parking at a public park.
“I don’t know how we can pick and choose what borough residents or what borough users can use a public parking lot,” Stotler said. “I don’t know if we can limit people going to the bakery from using it. I don’t know if we can say even Riverview parking only. Trying to be logical and trying to be fair.”
School district, borough and bakery officials said they expect the parking issues to calm in the coming weeks.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .