Safety of the north lot at Roosevelt Middle School still needs scrutiny, District 90 officials said last week. So much so that officials have conducted another study to see if restricting access to the area during the school day would affect traffic around the building.
The results of the study, which will be in district hands this week, will help the school board determine if additional steps would be needed to allow for adequate access to the area, according to D90 Supt. Ed Condon.
At issue may be how the district can improve safety without creating too many inconveniences for parents who need to pick up or drop off a child, or get a lunch or a book to a student.
The study was triggered by, but unrelated to, a controversial $1.3 million exterior renovations project, which could go to the village for review this week. Parking in that lot was a point of discussion and community dissension. Some wanted parking for only 20 spaces in order to allow for a student gathering place; others wanted 27 so parking would also be available for the public library. Access to the lot would be limited to employee parking.
But whether that project goes forward or is shot down, it does not take away the challenge of making the north lot safer, said Patrick Meyer, D90 school board president. "We are not doing the study in advance of the project," he said. "We would have to do this in any event."
Meyer said the more the district began digging into making the exterior changes, the clearer it became to the board and the administration that improving the safety in the north lot was important.
Condon noted that as the district began to investigate the viability of the exterior renovations project, it became more apparent that the lot posed safety concerns. Last year some measures were initiated, including adding a crossing guard at the entrance and exit of the north lot at the start of, and end of, the school day. Parking cones were added to keep cars from parking in certain locations. Short-term parking spots also were created in the middle lot south on Lathrop Avenue.
The measures had a positive impact but continue to present some unique issues, Condon said. Parents still double-parked in the lot. Backing out of the lot proved challenging. Parents continued to park out there to drop off lunches. Cars stacking up on Jackson Avenue can affect the flow of traffic around Lathrop, Chicago and Jackson, Meyer said.
Condon said it was important to "gather more data."
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