Home » Roadwork could change use of school’s parking lot

Roadwork could change use of school’s parking lot

NORTH CANAAN — Work on a new Pease Street entrance to the Town Hall parking lot is underway, part of an effort to improve safety at a school crosswalk. The Board of Selectmen put the plan in motion following a review by consulting engineer George Johannesen of Allied Engineering Associates. The report supports a proposal to relocate the entrance a little more than halfway down the block toward Bragg Street. Johannesen essentially reiterated issues brought to light since the beginning of the year, when a crossing guard position was eliminated on Main Street and moved to a crosswalk adjacent to the school.There is considerable pedestrian traffic in the crosswalk that cuts diagonally across a turn in the road, where a four-way intersection currently exists. The Town Hall parking lot is used by some school staff. Many of the students who walk to school use that route. During arrival and dismissal times, Pease Street is one way, and has been so for decades. Additional signs were recently installed to remind drivers, but the town ordinance is still ignored by some.Crossing guard Don Caranci said things have been markedly better with the start of the new school year. Drivers seem to be more attentive to safety, although many still disobey the speed limit. The biggest remaining issue is a small number of teachers who continue to leave the parking lot across from the school and travel the wrong way.Johannesen said the driveway is a good solution for the “congestion and confusion” at the crosswalk intersection. Among the benefits would be the elimination of much of the vehicular traffic across the crosswalk. Drivers going to and from Town Hall would be more likely to use Bragg Street, reducing traffic in front of the school. It would also prevent drivers from pulling out of the lot to travel straight across onto Pease Street and violate the one-way designation.In addition, it is a chance, he said, to reconfigure parking in the Town Hall lot to “better and safer traffic flow and parking over what exists and is somewhat confusing now.”

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