Traffic Safety and Parking Update

A lot has happened over the last week so I wanted to give an update on the pursuit of improved traffic safety and parking for Lee. First of all, please know that City Council member Barbara Hoppe has taken our cause under her wing and she has been an incredible advocate for Lee. Because of her interest and involvement, we have had a couple of very productive meetings that take us another step closer to formal solutions.

Early last week we collected all of the comments you provided (thank you!) and consolidated them into a document listing our concerns and potential solutions for each. We have used this document as the framework and starting place for our discussions with the city and the developer of the Locust apartment building.

Last Friday, we met with Council Member Barbara Hoppe and the city’s traffic engineer Scott Bitterman. Here’s the summary:

-We discussed our concerns and possible solutions with Barbara and Scott, among the items discussed were a stop sign at Locust/Waugh, improved school zone signage, ideas regarding improving the flow of traffic on Locust/Waugh, creating a safe way to cross College Ave, and making the span of Locust in front of Lee a "closed campus" (essentially allowing only Lee traffic and buses M-F 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, and making the parking in front of Lee free and for use only by Lee parents/caregivers/volunteers).

-Scott will be doing a traffic study of the Lee area, which he plans to have finished in a month. Once the study is complete, we will meet with Scott, Barbara, the developers, and potentially other City Council members and police to discuss our options and plan for addressing our traffic safety and parking concerns.

-In the meantime, Barbara was able to get the speed-indicating trailer in front of the school. This was a measure to get drivers’ attention to help reduce speed before more permanent solutions could be approved and put into place.

Tonight, we met with the Odles (the developers of the Locust apartment building) and their attorney. We gave an overview of the school’s concerns and had the opportunity to discuss traffic safety, parking, congestion, and concerns relating to construction. The Odles (a father and son developer duo) were very warm and amazingly open to our concerns and solutions. They will be providing bussing for their tenants (to the university and off-site parking facilities) and they have a very strict policy regarding the screening of tenants and eviction of tenants for poor behavior. They will do their best to keep construction equipment off of Locust during arrival and dismissal times, and a line of communication has been established between the developer and Mrs. Burger so that construction-related schedules and issues can be planned for and/or addressed. The Odles were also very open to the idea of a closed campus for Lee and the measures we suggested to improve traffic safety and parking. They also discussed not having first-floor retail due to the parking issues and limitations in the area of the school.

So that’s where we are! When we went to the City Council meeting at the beginning of the month, we were crossing our fingers with the hopes that we could begin a dialogue with the city about our traffic and parking issues. Thanks to Barbara Hoppe, Mrs. Burger, and the team of Lee parents, the dialogue has begun, initial steps have been taken, and significant solutions look promising.

This is a much abbreviated summary of the last week–please let me know if you have questions or comments. We are expecting to know more mid-April when the traffic report is complete, so more updates will follow at that time.

Many thanks for all of your wonderful comments and suggestions! They have been the backbone of this effort!

Amy Sarver

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