Board eyes permanent traffic fix

CRANBURY- For now, circulation shows big improvement

By: Casha Caponegro
   Although new regulations limiting morning traffic has decreased congestion in the school parking lot, school officials said they still want a permanent solution to the problem.
   "The traffic in the school lot is by no means perfect, but it has greatly improved," said Chief School Administrator Carol Malouf, who came up with the traffic plan a few weeks ago after a student was nearly hit by a school bus while walking through the congested parking lot.
   According to new school regulations, parents are permitted to drive into the lot only between 8 and 8:20 a.m. From 8:20 to 8:35 a.m. only buses and school staff or faculty vehicles may enter the lot.
   School board members said Tuesday that, for the most part, parents have adhered to the new regulations.
   "We need to impress upon people the importance of dropping off your children early," said board member Bill Schraudenbach, who pointed out that some parents are still entering the lot after 8:20 a.m.
   School officials have been working for close to four years to eliminate congestion in the school lot during the busy morning drop-off period.
   The township had considered making Schoolhouse Lane a part-time one-way exit or entrance into the lot before and after school. The proposal would require the construction of an access road into the school lot via Park Place West.
   The Township Committee hopes to solve circulation problems as it develops the 12-acre Wright South parcel that is adjacent to the lot.
   The committee has hired Brown and Keener Urban Design to assist it in planning the Wright South parcel. Charles Carmalt, a traffic consultant with the firm, will evaluate traffic conditions in the school lot to come up with a master plan to solve circulation issues on Main Street and the school lot.
   School officials said the new lot regulations will be a temporary solution as they await Mr. Carmalt’s evaluation.
   "The Township Committee is rightly trying to look at the big picture, which is commendable," said board member David Andrews.
   Mr. Andrews said the urgency of the situation, however, has required school officials to take action.
   Board members said they were pleased with the actions of school bus drivers, who appealed to the board last month to do something about unsafe conditions in the school lot.
   "I’d like to commend the school bus drivers for caring so much about the kids," said board member Bill Persons.
   Township Committee members also are pleased with the new regulations in the school lot.
   Cranbury Police Chief Harry Kleinkauf said despite the improved traffic flow in the school lot, the township still needs to improve congestion on Main Street that occurs during the morning commute.
   "The new drop-off time has helped some, but even with that additional help we still need a circulation plan for the entire village," said Chief Kleinkauf.