EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – After doing extensive research and debating with village and town officials and residents, the Tuckahoe School District has opted not to purchase land from the town of Eastchester around William E. Cottle Elementary.
According to Schools Superintendent Barbara Nuzzi, after surveying every option the district has determined that it is not in the district’s best interest to assume ownership of parts of Siwanoy Boulevard around the elementary school, though other precautions are being put in place.
The district has expressed concerns regarding the safety of students and residents near the loading zones at Cottle and the Middle/High School, which get congested with vehicular traffic around arrival and dismissal times.
Earlier this year, the Tuckahoe Board of Education commissioned Kathleen Furneaux, a senior consultant at the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute in Syracuse, to analyze the district’s options to better protect students and residents.
Last year, protective barriers were put in place in the area to maximize safety. Although the district won’t be purchasing the land, Nuzzi noted that they will still seek the assistance of the town to minimize the problem.
As an extra safety precaution, the district is also set to install a fence around the Cottle field that will confine students to the area, keeping them from straying closer to local traffic.
“We have requested the town’s assistance in alternative options to ensure the safety of our students when crossing the street,” she said. “The town has agreed to install raised crosswalks, as recommended by (Furneaux). Staff will be instructed to only cross students in these designated areas.”
The traffic problem is compounded because the district has an inefficient number of parking spaces for employees and students. According to Furneaux’s initial report, there are only two parking lots for employees, which can’t accommodate the entire staff.
Despite an arrangement with the neighboring Siwanoy Country Club that created an additional 15 spaces, the overflow winds up parked in the narrow streets between Cottle and the Middle/High School.
“The school buildings are nestled tightly into a neighborhood that utilizes almost every square foot of space,” Furneaux’s report noted. “Observations and input from the residential community identify safety and access concerns, which stem from illegal parking and standing occurring in front of homes.”
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