In a recent River Edge School Board meeting, a pivotal discussion aimed at improving traffic conditions around Cherry Hill school unfolded, commanding the interest of both board members and the public. The meeting revolved primarily around a comprehensive plan put forth by traffic engineer, Mr. Lee Klein, aimed at reducing congestion during school drop-off and pick-up times.
Mr. Klein’s proposal included extending the school’s drop-off lane to accommodate six more cars, allowing parents to start dropping off their children at 8 a.m. – a full 15 minutes earlier than the current timing – and placing additional staff on the sidewalk during peak times. These changes, he projected, could increase the school’s drop-off capacity by an impressive 75%.
The discussion, however, was not devoid of disagreement and concerns. The feasibility of some recommendations was scrutinized, particularly regarding shifting some traffic to a “green loop” and the idea of spreading traffic across multiple routes, including Bogart, Oak, Elm, and Fifth streets. Board members also grappled with the anticipated increase in cars, with one member suggesting the total could be around 400.
Members of the public chimed in with their perspectives, raising concerns about crosswalk safety, the possibility of moving the crosswalk, and the proportion of parents who would drop off their children during the extended window. Some worried that families might not be able to adjust to the earlier timing, which was proposed as a way to lessen morning congestion.
In addition to these traffic-related concerns, several attendees stressed the importance of considering broader traffic context, such as the intersection at Continental AB and Bogert, and potential increased traffic on Cherry Hill and Roosevelt. Questions arose about managing traffic during inclement weather, and the possibility of incorporating a ‘weather factor’ into the board’s considerations.
There was a call for a more comprehensive study on these traffic matters, which the board agreed was important. However, the meeting concluded without a definitive plan for such a study. This left some community members dissatisfied, emphasizing the ongoing nature of these discussions.
Another significant discussion point during the meeting involved a contract renewal with a vendor, presumably responsible for after-school services. Board members expressed concerns about the vendor’s inconsistent performance over the past year and discussed implementing quarterly reviews and regular surveys for feedback.
The meeting also touched on matters like teacher gifts and the absence of a certified librarian, with plans to address the latter by hiring two certified librarians for the upcoming school year.
In the midst of these challenging discussions, the board also found time to celebrate the district’s cultural diversity with the announcement of a community event, ‘One Community Many Stories,’ and to express appreciation for district teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week.