Traffic flow problem at Morenci Elementary 2012.01.25

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Whenever Morenci Elementary School dean of students Mary Fisher sees a child nearly get hit by a car in the school’s front circle drive, she knows she has to continue working with parents about safety rules.

Fisher knows she’s made strides and most parents are abiding by rules, but not everyone is paying attention.

“It’s been a real issue for us,” she said. “We’re just trying to do the best we can do to keep our kids safe.”

Changes haven’t come easily. At one time in the past, parents volunteered to direct traffic and keep cars out of the circle drive in the afternoon. They were sometimes met with verbal abuse.

“Convenience has to take second place to safety,” said Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks, who has helped with the issue.

The situation can become very chaotic—particularly in the afternoon—and patience is needed, Chief Weeks added.

Fisher has issued separate instructions for morning and afternoon traffic.

A.M.—When dropping off a child in heavy traffic, advance past the school toward the end of the drive before stopping. This will allow additional cars to enter the drive and avoid a traffic backup into Locust Street.

If a parent needs to go into the school, the vehicle should be parked in a parking spot rather than blocking traffic in the drive.

The newer parking area on the west end of the school can also be used.

P.M.—The circle drive is blocked in the afternoon with traffic cones, but Fisher has seen some drivers work their way around them. One day she watched a vehicle back into the drive.

Fisher prefers that cars line up along Page Street to pick up children or use the parking lot on the west end.

Some parents park on Locust Street in front of the school. When that’s done, she urges parents to park in the lane closest to the school so children don’t have to “J-walk” across traffic.

Some parents park a block away on Burley Street to avoid the heavy traffic near the school.

When the school was constructed in the 1950s, most students who lived in town walked to school and the size of the front drive wasn’t an issue.

That brings to mind one other solution to the traffic problem.

“Parents could let them walk to school,” Fisher said.

  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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