Drivers Fume at Enforcement of New Parking Rules at MHS

BY  |  Thursday, Jan 05, 2012 10:22am  |  COMMENTS (38)

Some parents, students and residents in the blocks surrounding Montclair High School are fuming about the enforcement of new parking rules that resulted in tickets and mass confusion around the high school yesterday and this morning.

“The residents were given zero notification,” said one Chestnut Ave. resident. “None of us saw the signs go up.”

Local business owner Scott Kennedy, who got a ticket yesterday for stopping at the traditional Park Street pickup spot across from the High School Annex at 2:30 p.m., said it’s the opposite of what community policing is supposed to be.

“We want our local police to be our guys, to know our habits, to know that at 2:30 school gets out and cars are going to be picking people up,” he said. He said that parents showing up at the high school last night for a meeting about incoming 10th graders were irate about the situation.

“There was a slew of angry parents who were caught,” he said. “They were just furious. It makes no sense to lay in wait for parents to show up at 2:30 and write tickets as fast as you can.”

Montclair High School sent out a notice to parents yesterday at 4:12 p.m. to — more than an hour after the ticketing spree — to explain the changes.

Newly adopted ordinances from the Montclair Township Council changing parking, stopping, and turning on the streets surrounding MHS have been attached for your information and use. Signs have been posted to reflect the changes. A brief description of the ordinances is listed below in addition to the attachments. These changes have been made to ease the congestion around the high school in the morning and for the safety of our students and staff.

No person shall park a vehicle on the South side of Chestnut Street between 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Monday thru Friday between Midland Ave and Park Street.

No person shall stop or stand a vehicle at any time on the North side of Chestnut Street between Midland Avenue and Park Street.

No person, except the operator of a school or transit bus, shall make a turn of the kind designated below between 7:45 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. at any of the following locations:

Traveling North on Park Street at the intersection of Chestnut Street – all turns prohibited

Traveling South on Park Street at the intersection of Chestnut Street – all turns prohibited

Traveling East on Chestnut Street at the intersection of Park Street – all turns prohibited

Traveling West on Chestnut Street at the intersection of Park Street – all turns prohibited

Traveling North on Midland Avenue at the intersection of Chestnut Street – right turn prohibited

Traveling South on Midland Avenue at the intersection of Chestnut Street – left turn prohibited

Even Nick Lewis, council liaison to the Traffic and Parking Advisory Committee, said the notifications seemed to arrive late. “I don’t remember getting a notice until this week.” He added, “I didn’t think they would be giving tickets initially.”

The purpose of the new rules is to clear the streets immediately surrounding Montclair High School during the high-peak drop-off and pick-up periods and “keep traffic moving,” he said.

“Chestnut and Park is kind of a disaster. But it’s really only a disaster area for half an hour,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes. Every time you fiddle with traffic and parking, people find new ways to do things. Some are better and some are worse.”


  1. POSTED BY zephyrus  |  January 05, 2012 @ 10:40 am

    If the town really wanted to curb traffic during those hours – instead of rake in loot via a quick cash tax under guise of new traffic restrictions – they’d put a DO NOT ENTER sign in the street (as is done near Watchung school and Nishuane).

    Perhaps they will indeed do that once they’ve made enough dough.

  2. POSTED BY kg11418  |  January 05, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    I find it truly unbelievable that this is allowed to go on in this town. Montclair has become a police-centric community. My neighbor’s son received a ticket for jaywalking the other day by MHS. He tossed it so she’s now patiently waiting for the bill to arrive from the town with the original fine plus the penalty. And he didn’t even know what jaywalking was! Try telling 2,000 high schoolers to cross only at a crosswalk, or to wait for the light to turn green even when there are NO cars in sight. I agree with Zephyrus; put the signs up similar to the other schools. It will save the town money in the end: those police officers who hang out by the school trying to catch students and parents can be let go and their salaries/benefits will be saved.

  3. POSTED BY nomo  |  January 05, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    Her son should know what jaywalking is, because there have been many announcements at MHS about it, and its been enforced most of the fall. That rule is being enforced to ensure the safety of students. Same with the rest.

  4. POSTED BY mandy939  |  January 05, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    Every child should know how to cross the street. Period. I find it RIDICULOUS that a high school student didn´t know what jaywalking is, or that you, you know, cross at the crosswalk (hence the name) and with the light??? But yeah, that´s because kids in Montclair don´t ever have to cross the street in town alone until they graduate high school, and crossing guards pay no attention to the light whatsoever, stopping 6 cars so that one child can cross…at that time…on demand. Seriously? How about enforcing the jaywalking laws, enforcing no idling rules, enforcing the whole cross at the light rule for pedestrians, then maybe we wouldn´t need these new rules.
    I grew up in Montclair, and went to MHS. We crossed at the crosswalk with the light. When going to the freshman building and back, a crossing guard stopped traffic. We had an open campus, and could leave for lunch, which I believe they still do. We knew how to cross the streets safely to do so. We had ONE crossing guard, NOT the however many there are now.

  5. POSTED BY kob62  |  January 05, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

    The School Action Team Meeting Minutes that are sent out have included this as an agenda item. The last minutes I have, dated 12/21/11, seemed to indicate that the topic is(was) still open for discussion. I’m a little surprised to see that this went through so quickly. The meeting minutes didn’t indicate that decisions would be made/enforced within two weeks of the meeting.

    One of the items addressed in the minutes that I don’t see addressed here is the issue of the crossing guards “batching” kids before letting them cross the street. The crossing guard at Midland/Chestnut stops traffic indefinitely for every kid that comes walking through. He doesn’t hold the kids at all, which really creates a back up of traffic. Of course, this does give me the opportunity to turn left from Chestnut onto Midland to drop my daughter off so it does work in my favor, just a little bit!

    The other issue is whether or not the driveway in front of the high school can be opened up as a dropoff area – currently it is blocked with a cone.

    Bottom line, the traffic is a nightmare during drop-off/pick-up. But, it is only a half hour twice a day. These changes seem a little extreme given that time frame.

  6. POSTED BY raeven  |  January 05, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    It doesn’t surprise me that a hs student wouldn’t know what jaywalking is. Heck, most of the adults in town seem to not understand it. Just drive around Watching Plaza after a train unloads and observe the utter disregard for the abundant marked crosswalks. I’d also wager a guess that most of the people crossing wherever they like are also the ones who as drivers don’t yield for pedestrians who are trying to cross in marked crosswalks.

  7. POSTED BY rak  |  January 05, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    Parents could also avoid Chestnut/Park/North Fullerton/Midland Aves and drop their kids off a block or 2 away from the school.

  8. POSTED BY kay  |  January 05, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

    Hm. That might explain why traffic was exceptionally heavy on Forest St. this morning near the co-op school (which is difficult to navigate at best, but when everyone who would have been on Park St has now detoured to Forest so that they can go up Chestnut, along with the school buses on their usual route and with both sides of the road being lined with parked cars, it was pretty much pandemonium.)

    I know they haven’t yet perfected teleporting, but I’ll be the first one on the beta testing list!

  9. POSTED BY floyd  |  January 05, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    When I had a child at the high school, my kid didn’t allow me to get within a block of school. “Dad, here’s fine. Stop Dad.”

  10. POSTED BY Holly Korus  |  January 05, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

    The fact that the kid tossed the jaywalking ticket speaks volumes. The first thing we teach our children when crossing the street is look both ways and if the sign shows a person walking then-go. If the sign says “stop” then- stop.

    Many years ago I recieved a jaywalking ticket. I complained to my father and said I didn’t know what jaywalking was. He laughed at me and said, “Well now you won’t forget.”.

    kob62- Did anyone consider just asking Mike the crossing guard to “batch” students? Maybe there is a bigger problem with that intersection. Why not take a second and ask him what it is like on that corner?

    The driveway for the school is no longer blocked by a cone. Parents can drop students in the curved driveway.

    I agree there should be a “Do Not Enter” ( with the exception of buses and residents) sign between Park and Midland. The no turning zones will not be enforced uless there is an officer out everyday.

  11. POSTED BY herbeverschmel  |  January 05, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    Ordinances usually go through two readings and a public hearing before they are voted on and then can’t take place for about 30 days after it was passed. It looks it was on the 12/6 meeting agenda. Thats not 30 days to me. Check into it….

  12. POSTED BY lovemyporch52  |  January 05, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    I’ve been dropping my kids at the high school for 7 years, usually going north on Park Street, pulling over to the curb at the light at Park and Chestnut, and then making a right onto Chestnut to go back home in the south end of town. If you are coming from the south end and cannot make turns at Midland or Park, then you have to drive all the way to Watchung – I can’t imagine what the traffic was like there this morning (my son had zero period so we were early)! Tomorrow during normal time, we will to get to school early to avoid this mess. Or go down N. Fullerton and make the right turn on Chestnut there. If you live in Upper Montclair, you can make a turn at Park onto James Street and get back to Valley Road – a short distance compared to those of us coming from the south end of town who have to travel to Watchung. But then again, I guess we live in the wrong Montclair zip code. Honestly, this is ridiculous. I’m sure the families on James, Berkeley, and other surrounding streets off Park and Midland were not consulted about this and now they have to put up with additional traffic. Plus it adds to the traffic on Park in front of George Innes Annex where large goups of students are crossing all the time early in the day. I’ve sat there for over 7 mins waiting for the guard to call all clear. Imagine the cars piled up behind me on a regular day. Why not make drop off zones and just let everyone make the turns they have to make?? Everyone I see stops for the kids crossing with the light at Park as they should. We are talking about students who should know how to cross the streets and with the guards stopping traffic, I think this is total overkill.

    Yes, the guards could do a better job of bunching the kids at Midland. I have the advantage of the light at Park which makes it easier. They should put in a light at Midland and Chestnut that operates at specific times of the day. That would be more helpful than this.

  13. POSTED BY oliver  |  January 05, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    The area by MHS is certainly somewhere you don’t want to be around 8 a.m. if you don’t have to be. It’s not quite as bad in the afternoon–I guess because of sports and other after-school things; plus people aren’t in quite the same frantic hurry as in the morning.

    This morning I noticed police car flashing lights by the Park/Chestnut intersection, but saw no cop by Chestnut/Midland (nor did I in the afternoon). I do think Park/Chestnut is a much bigger problem, and I can see why the police presence might be focused there.

    Regarding batching: I always assumed the crossing guard was trying to help out the strsgglers as it got closer to 8 a.m. by letting them cross at will. My kids have occasionally benefited from that policy!

  14. POSTED BY kay  |  January 05, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    Technically, jaywalking is crossing a street at an angle. According to my last reading of the recently-updated pedestrian law, a ped is permitted to cross anywhere, as long as they walk in an absolute perpendicular line to the opposite curb. If you walk a little bit off 90 degress… then bam! Jaywalking.

    Growing up, I always thought jaywalking meant crossing anywhere except a corner or crosswalk. That’s why I looked up the pedestrian law. Which means, technically, those kids can cross anywhere they like, as long as they have a level line to follow, straight up 12 o’clock high!

  15. POSTED BY spaceck  |  January 05, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

    Wrong, Kay. Jaywalking is any illegal crossing. And it truly is one of the first things we teach our kids when we take them out. I am appalled to see parents crossing with their kids in the middle of a block.

  16. POSTED BY kay  |  January 05, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

    Spaceck, when I read NJSA 39:4-34, it talks about crossing at “right angles to the roadway” when there is no crosswalk, marked or unmarked, and where not otherwise prohibited…
    (I could not pick up a good link from the NJ legislature site, sorry.)

    Regardless, I have always taught my kids to cross at a corner no matter what. … But if a person wants to cross Park street to get to Mid-Park Lane, I doubt they are going to go all the way to Chestnut or Watchung to cross!

  17. POSTED BY stu  |  January 05, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

    I recall when I used to drop my son off at day care, I was always amazed at the parents who crossed Washington Avenue in Bloomfield where ever they chose when there was a crossing guard and a cross walk no more than 20 yards away.

  18. POSTED BY montclairhighstudent  |  January 05, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

    Yesterday at 8:05 I was ticketed for parking infront of the HS on Chestnut St (I got to school at 7:55). I parked in a spot where one sign was two cars behind me and the next visible sign was a block in front of me… I almost always park right in front of the school, so it didn’t occur to me to double check if changes had been made to the signs because the parking signs have been the same since I was a freshman. Of course I was surprised when I saw the ticket on my window yesterday because I was parked for less than two hours, and when I saw that the school resource officer, Officer Nelson, was the one who gave me the ticket I went to go talk to her because I still had no idea about the new parking rule. She told me that the signs have been up “for about a couple of weeks now,” though she confirmed that they were not put up before winter break started. I was ticketed on my second day back to school from winter break, without warning of these new rules. Officer Nelson told me that the high school does not create the rules and they don’t enforce the parking rules either, she said that it is the town’s responsibility not the Montclair High School’s. I find this VERY aggrevating because although it is the “town’s responsibility,” Officer Nelson works at the high school as a liason of the police dept. and knows that those who park infront of Montclair High on Chestnut are students, faculty, and parents. She should have made an effort to inform students, i.e. by running an announcment over the loud speaker or issuing warnings instead of tickets before the blast e-mail was sent out. Instead, she did nothing, knowing that a majority of those who parked in front of the school were unaware of the new changes. Students of MHS are always under constant scrutiny by Montclair Police Officers and targeted using sneaky tacits. Parking around the high school is limited to either 4 or 2 hours while 6th period lunch doesn’t start untill more than 4 hours after the start of school. Also, police officers such as Officer Russo pretend to be parked use all black undercover vehicles to find people to pull over.

    Another issue that I’ve had with parking enforcement: Parking in front of the high school on Chestnut street in between Midland and Park st. is limited to 2 hours and parking permits are not recognized, though the all-day parking permits are recognized on most of the streets surrounding the high school (including Chestnut street— just not right infront of the school). I understand this rule and abide by the 2 hour limit so I was very annoyed when I went to move my car after and hour and half of parking in front of the school to see a ticket on my window. This time the ticket was for “resticted parking (permit)”….. Officer Nelson ticketed me because EVEN THOUGH I was parked for less than 2 hours, there was a permit hanging on my rearview mirror. Let it also be known that this permit expired in June and I got the ticket this November…. So, not only was I ABIDING by the 2 hour rule but the old permit hanging in my mirror was EXPIRED. My parents have a permit for parking at the train station, I have never seen it removed from the rear view mirror and yet they have never received a ticket for restricted parking (permit) when they park at places other than the train station.

  19. POSTED BY raeven  |  January 05, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    Pedestrians are first and foremost required to obey traffic rules (i.e. lights).
    Vehicles must stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks (which probably only happens 50% of the time around here).
    Vehicles should yield to pedestrians at unmarked crosswalks at intersections (probably only happens 20% of the time).
    If crossing from any other location (non marked non intersection), pedestrians must yield to vehicle traffic (varies according to part of town, if by a school or train station, not likely).

  20. POSTED BY edgemont1  |  January 05, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

    The area around MHS before and after school is a disaster waiting to happen! Somebody’s kid is gonna get killed if the new ordinances aren’t enforced, further the traffic jams at those times are incredible I doubt Montclair has a worse traffic situation anywhere. I applaud the new regulations hopefully it’ll prevent a tragedy and help move the traffic more effectively.
    Yesterday, I personally saw officer Russo in his black stealth police car pulling up to vehicles and verbally warning/informing people of the new regs also… I saw the female officer a couple wks ago warning drivers.

  21. POSTED BY nielmtc  |  January 05, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

    The 2 hour and 4 hour parking rules around the high school were a compromise made several years ago after they added the annex on the 9th grade building – the annex was built on part of the teacher’s parking lot and with the addition of more staff, the staff needed some on street parking. The intention was that the 2 hour area would be for teachers with permits and visitors while students would park in the 4 hour areas (with a permit). Years ago, there was no parking on any of the streets around the HS.

    Both the town and the HS should have done a better job about notifying both students and residents about the change in the traffic patterns. Even though I sat through discussions of this at MHS School Action Team meetings and read the email from MHS, I still don’t understand where parents are permitted to drop students off- the email mostly said what not to do-where not to park and where not to turn. Since parking has been allowed on the streets around the HS, it has gotten more dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians. Hopefully people will adjust before we add snow to the mix.

  22. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 05, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

    Oh jeez, just pay the two dollars!

  23. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 05, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

    Welcome to my world, floyd. My son would rather crawl to school through mortar fire than be seen being dropped off by the likes of me.

  24. POSTED BY bebopgun  |  January 06, 2012 @ 12:32 am

    Thank god MTC cops aren’t in NYC. They’d have a jaywalking field day.

  25. POSTED BY edgemont1  |  January 06, 2012 @ 12:52 am

    “Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law”
    The signs are posted and were there for at least a week along with a giant yellow flashing speed limit sign. Kinda hard not to notice.

  26. POSTED BY oliver  |  January 06, 2012 @ 6:58 am

    If there’s any no-turn signage at the corner of Chestnut and Midland, I did not see it yesterday. I agree that the changes were instituted too abruptly. When the town added new 4-way stop signs elsewhere, there was large signage posted well in advance. The new no-parking signs are microscopic–even if you are looking for them, they aren’t easy to see! (Again, I’m referring to Chestnut near Midland.)

  27. POSTED BY mtclibn42  |  January 06, 2012 @ 7:20 am

    This is why I ALWAYS read the official ordinances posted in the Montclair Times each week as you never know what the town council is trying to shove through. One time I found out about a plan to temporarily put permit only parking on a portion of my street — effectively restricting residents own use of our street, I clipped and saved a copy of that ordinance as it emphasized the temporary nature of the change. Sure enough, 1 year later when the ordinance expired, the councilman that sponsored it and the Montclair Parking Authority tried to automatically change it to permanent permit parking, without posting another ordinance. That move was illegal. I told them so and had a copy of the original ordinance to back that up. The permit only signs came down the next week.

  28. POSTED BY fussyhostess  |  January 06, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    @montclairhighstudent: Plead “not guilty” (instructions should be on the back of the ticket) and go to traffic court. It can take few hours — usually no more than 2 — but if your complaints are valid you will probably have the ticket dropped. I’ve won every time I’ve challenged a ticket in Montclair because the ones I received were unreasonable and it sounds like yours’ are too. Good luck!

  29. POSTED BY fussyhostess  |  January 06, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    BTW, I’m convinced that 90% of ticketing is done with the idea that people won’t bother to fight the supposed offense and will pay instead. I’ve always felt that I have more time than money so I’d rather spend the time to fight! Unfortunately, I know most people have little precious time to do the same.

  30. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 06, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    Fussy, Fighting a ticket based upon parking between signs is an exercise in folly. My wife had an identical experience in Roseland. Fighting a ticket also involves getting on the court docket, which involves showing up and scheduling yet another appearance. Bottom line, she was told by the prosecutor that fighting the ticket was futile and that it would result in additional court costs as well.

    What I find curious is highschoolstudent’s defense of having an expired sticker and why that should be of any help, as well as the argument that one’s parents having a train station permit is somehow germain. Presumably the parents are renewing their permits like the rest of us every 6 months. Obviously courses in logic aren’t central to the MHS curriculum.

  31. POSTED BY kob62  |  January 06, 2012 @ 10:58 am

    Holly – I have not spoken to the crossing guard about batching the kids. Honestly, it never occurred to me. but, realistically I don’t think trying to have a conversation with him during his peak traffic flow time makes much sense and as I head off to work (an hour away from Montclair) after I drop my daughter, I’m not willing to wait another 20 minutes. I was glad to see that the school action team had raised the issue because I think it’s worth the conversation.

    And, as Oliver posts, I too have sometimes benefitted by kids not being batched, although for a different reason. he holds traffic and I can easily turn left onto Midland.

    There are pros and cons to everything and I trust that the school action team has handled this well. Whether or not the township or the school provided enough advance notice – well, that’s a different subject.

  32. POSTED BY oliver  |  January 06, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

    I agree that the School Action Team has been doing a good job–among the traffic-calming changes made this year was the re-routing of garbage and recycling trucks away from Chestnut St. during morning drop-off time. Every Wed. a.m. used to find me cursing my inability to remember that the garbage truck and I were on the same schedule making our way east toward the high school. It would get so congested, and of course you can’t pass the truck, and it was frustrating for drivers, pedestrians and garbage collectors alike. This was a great solution with no downside.

    The no-turns thing will sort itself out. But further limiting parking in a tight parking zone is tough. Remember last year when the snowbanks stayed put and the police put emergency-no-parking signs everywhere? Guess that’s coming soon, just to add to the mess!

  33. POSTED BY Holly Korus  |  January 06, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    Ok let’s get a few things straight here. I was out side in front of the high school yesterday morning taking pictures, notes and speaking to Officer Nelson as well as the crossing guards. I also was standing with Officer Nelson when, who I am assuming was “Montclairhighstudent” had the above conversation. I asked Officer Nelson directly why the students did not get more warning about the new rules she told me that the parking on Chestnut between Midland and Park is VISITOR OR FACULTY PARKING ONLY. She said students are not allowed to park there and they all know this but they abuse the rules now the rules have changed.

    Oliver-This area where the new parking rules have been posted can fit 14 legally parked cars. Again these parking spaces are for visitors and faculty NOT STUDENTS. The only big change is the no stopping or standing on the north side of Chestnut st. Now the south side is going to be the standing area.

    Driving to school is a privilage that most high school kids in this country do not have. If you have to drop your child off a block or two farther from the school or they have to park their car a block farther away and walk those old 17-18 year old legs to school one more block I’m pretty sure everyone will survive.

  34. POSTED BY cathar  |  January 06, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

    33 comments to date (not including my own bafflement here) about something as minor as parking rules round school. No wonder others I’ve shown Baristanet to marvel at the sense of entitlement seemingly rife in Montclair, and at the tendency of locals to go on and on about such a minor issue at best. Only walleroo, surprisingly, seems a beacon of good sense above (even as I always wonder what on earth he does for a living which allows him to display his patented affability at any hour).

  35. POSTED BY oliver  |  January 06, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

    It’s minor to you, cathar, but there are about 2,000 kids enrolled at the high school and with no busing, that makes for a lot of student and parent drivers. (Keep in mind there is also a middle school a block away and a private school just beyond.)

    Holly, I may have missed it, but I don’t think the signs along Chestnut between Park and Midland state (or used to state) visitor/faculty parking only. So I find it disingenuous of the officer to state that the kids all know that. But regardless of that, does it make sense to have the drop-off/standing area be across from the school rather than on the same side? Just wondering….

  36. POSTED BY Holly Korus  |  January 06, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    Oliver- It never said that on the signs. I’m trying to get to the bottom of what students are told when they get a parking permit. There seems to be a whole-lotta assuming going around. Assumming people would read the Times to check if any traffic rules had chaged. Assuming we saw the 3 new 10″x12″ signs etc.

    I think the reason people are angry is because there was no notice. One email sent to MHS parents the night before and zero notice to the residents. How difficult could have been to make an announcement on the loudspeaker, send a flier home, send emails more than the day before?????

    I do believe the reason for the drop off on the south side of Chestnut is because the north side needs to be left open for the buses. FYI as of now you can drop off in the front driveway.

  37. POSTED BY kay  |  January 06, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    parking on Chestnut between Midland and Park is VISITOR OR FACULTY PARKING ONLY

    Holly, let’s say I am visiting someone who happens to live on that block… would I still be allowed to park there?? Or is it for HS visitors only?

    Hubby the native Montclairon said they should just go ahead and put up the do not enter signs to block off the streets like they do at Watchung school (except for residents of course).

    ps. It would be easy to miss that sign on Midland (picture 2) – looks like it’s fairly far back from the corner. Why not attach the sign right to the stop sign pole??

  38. POSTED BY Purple Tribe  |  January 07, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    As someone who lived on Chestnut Street for over five years, and then on James Street for about 2 years, perhaps looking at this from another perspective would shed some light on the situation and the chaos in the area. To put if frankly, it was absolute hell for residents who were trying to leave for work at the same time.

    I had parents park in front of my garage and literally tell me they would be right back, even though I politely asked them to move so I could pull out. One woman used profanity toward me saying her child would be late for school if she couldn’t stay there, and didn’t care if I had to leave right then. Another woman refused to move her Escalade which blocked two driveways by shouting at me that she pays taxes and needed a place to park. UM? But my tax dollars are spent so other residents can park in front of MY driveway as they please?

    James street was worse because I used to watch the kids smash Snapple bottles onto the street at recess leaving broken glass everywhere. After the residents complained for years, the school finally had to change the rules about large groups of kids walking down the street blocking traffic (and refused to move to the side or onto the sidewalk) when cars were on the road and added garbage cans.

    While the notice of traffic rules may not have been considered enough time for parents, traffic problems in the area have been addressed with the school for at least ten years. The 4-way stop sign added on Chestnut was a big help. Before that, I witnessed no less than 8 accidents at the intersection of Forest and Chestnut Street and the surrounding area.

    I think the major issue is to have drivers pay attention to signs at all times, especially in areas where large numbers of children and vehicles will be. Signs change all the time and will continue to do so long into the future. Good drivers should not worry so much about changes that are intended for overall safety (especially for children) but to worry more that they are missing traffic signs completely.

    Change in any area is inevitable and being adaptable to change is how we grow intellectually. TEACHING children to pay attention to a detail like this is a valuable lesson in awareness as these students being to prepare for the driver’s licenses and/or learn the nuances of parking in appropriate areas.

    Tickets aren’t the end of the world, and as Holly noted, she learned the lesson after she received her ticket years ago. As the great philosopher Epictetus stated: “Only the Educated are free!”

    Now lets move on to trying to end poverty, curing diseases and helping the homeless…

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