Voice Your Questions and Concerns about the Bear Creek School Project!

The EASD ACT 34 hearing for the proposed Bear Creek Elementary school was held Thursday May 1st, at 7:30 PM.  This hearing and the information about the school project was conspicuously missing from the Spring Edition of “Bear Tracks” that was recently mailed by the school district to the community residents. 

 

In case you missed it, a variety of citizens and representatives from Elizabethtown Borough voiced significant concerns.  Fortunately, the public comment session of the hearing was not the only opportunity to express your opinions and ask questions.

 

Residents are encouraged to ask questions and express concerns about this major school project.  Please email questions and comments to the School Board Secretary at: becky_maxwell@etownschools.org.  The deadline is noon, June 1st, 2008. 

Bear Creek School Project-Mt. Joy Street, Chestnut Street, College Avenue

According to the EASD Beak Creek School proposal, this area will see the majority of Faculty/Staff, and Parent drop-off traffic from the direction of the population center and West Donegal Township.  There are many identifiable problems with intersections and roadways.  The notes refer to the photo.  These problems need to be researched and either dismissed or resolved before approving the plan.

In general, the traffic along College Avenue is bustling during the same times of the day and year as the proposed intermediate school.  College Avenue has at least 44 parallel parking spaces that are day use only. This means that students and staff will be trying to parallel park during peak traffic times.  The College’s Plant Operations center is on the north side of College Avenue, requiring that lawn mowers, golf carts, service vehicles, aerial lifts, etc, must traverse and cross College Avenue.  These vehicles typically use College Avenue during the peak school hours.

Note #1
* Traffic on College Avenue is going to increase dramatically due to the growth in West Donegal Township and the new South Square.  There is a crosswalk with a flashing pedestrian light.  Pedestrian traffic for the College coincides with the traffic for the school.  Is this a bottleneck?

Note #2
* The intersection of Chestnut Street and College Avenue is often congested in the morning, and especially during inclement weather.
* The intersection is hampered due to the narrow south entrance to Chestnut Street.
* Parent drop-offs in the morning have difficulty making this turn from College Avenue.  Traffic heading to the intermediate school will need to turn left onto College Avenue, further congesting this intersection.

Note #3
* This intersection is already busy due to High Street bound main campus school traffic and the College opening.  Traffic from the population center and the booming housing construction in West Donegal Township will flow through this intersection.  Will this intersection require a traffic light?
Note #4
* The Intersection of East Park Street and Chestnut Street is congested in the morning.  Generally, the traffic is headed in the same direction as parents drop off students at the High School/ Middle school complex.
* Traffic headed for the Intermediate school will now need to cross this flow of traffic, further congesting this intersection.

Other Notes:
* Currently these intersections are located in the borough and are not being studied.
* College Avenue will likely see an explosion of traffic when the new South Square is complete, and 450 or more houses are constructed in West Donegal Township.

Bear Creek School-Sheaffer Road, Campus Road, and College Avenue

According to the EASD Bear Creek School proposal, this section of the road will see the majority of Faculty/Staff, and Parent drop-off traffic from the direction of the population center.  There are many identifiable problems with intersections and roadways.  The notes refer to the photo.  These problems need to be researched and either dismissed or resolved before approving the plan.

Note #1
* Sheaffer Road is already very narrow and in poor condition at this point.  It is possible that the road cannot be widened due to the Mennonite cemetery and the setbacks for Shybrook?
* Are sidewalks required further limiting the ability to widen the road at this point?

Note #2
* Traffic originating on Campus Road will need to make a difficult turn that is more than 90 degrees and not always possible if cars are lined up at the stop sign.
* This intersection will likely need to be realigned to some degree to correct this problem.  How will this intersection be corrected without acquiring property and doing some realignment of the intersection?

Note #3
* This intersection has poor sight lines due to the bank and trees next to the lake.
* Cars lined up to make the left turn are going to back up into the intersection of Campus Road and Sheaffer road, which is a very short distance from the intersection.  Is this acceptable?
* Traffic at this intersection coincides with the opening of the College.  This intersection is already busy between 7:30 AM and 9 AM.

Note #4
* Drivers will quickly figure out that driving west on Sheaffer Road, and turning right onto Clover Lane and left onto College Avenue eliminates two stop sign intersections.
* It is likely that Clover Lane will see a substantial amount of new traffic.  What are the ramifications for pushing large volumes of traffic down a residential lane?

Other Notes:
* Sheaffer Road and the intersection of Sheaffer Road and Campus Road will need to be widened and improved prior to the school opening and before the College Avenue extension is opened.  Does it make sense to improve this road section, when it will eventually return to a low traffic local access road?
* Will sidewalks be required?  Who pays for sidewalks?
* Utility poles will need to be relocated or direct buried.
* Who is going to pay for the improvements?  MJT or EASD?
* Who is going to pay for the improvements?  MJT or EASD?
* Given that road improvements will be needed, is it possible to have these improvements engineered and completed before the school opens?

Bear Creek Project-Sheaffer Road-Spring Road Intersection

According to the EASD Bear Creek school project proposal, this section of the road will see the majority of Faculty/Staff, and Parent drop-off traffic from the direction of the population center.  There are many identifiable problems with this intersection and roadway and the notes refer to the Photo.  These problems need to be researched and either dismissed or resolved before approving the plan.

Note #1
* This section of the roadway has a sharp turn with a steep road elevation change in short distance.  Driving in either direction is hazardous due to the turn and elevation change.
* Driving east to west, drivers cannot see traffic pulling onto to Sheaffer Road until they make the turn and come up the hill.

Note #2
* The intersection of Spring Road and Sheaffer Road has a combination of switch back turns and a hill from three directions.
* Sight lines for traffic are extremely poor.  Right turns are from Spring Road are more than 90 degrees.�
* How will this intersection be corrected without acquiring property and redoing the entire intersection?

Note #3
* Spring Road will see a considerable amount of traffic, and is poor condition.
*The Country road has twists and steep hill.
• Given that road improvements will be needed, is it possible to have these improvements engineered and completed before the school opens?

Note #4
* The intersection Spring Road and Ridge Road is very dangerous
* The intersection is located in the middle of a curve on Ridge road, and sight lines are poor.

Other Notes:
* This section of the roadway and the intersection will need to be widened and improved prior to the school opening and before the College Avenue extension is opened.  Does it make sense to spend a lot of money to improve this road section, when it will eventually return to a low traffic local access road?
* Will sidewalks be required?  Who pays for sidewalks?
* Utility poles will need to be relocated or direct buried.
* Who is going to pay for the improvements?  MJT or EASD?
* Given that road improvements will be needed, is it possible to have these improvements engineered and completed before the school opens?

Bear Creek Project-Sheaffer Road to Ridge Road

According to the EASD Bear Creek School project proposal, this section of the road will be used for all bus traffic.  There are many identifiable problems with this plan and the notes refer to the Photo.  These problems need to be researched and either dismissed or resolved before approving the plan.

Note #1
* This intersection is marred by a steep bank on the left and a banked turn on the right.  Sight lines are very poor and this is a very dangerous intersection.
* This intersection most certainly will require a traffic signal at great expense.  (Who pays for this new signaled intersection?  MJT or EASD?)
* If the Intersection has a signal installed, the approach to the intersection from the north and south are very steep grades.  Trying to start a bus, car, or truck two or three car lengths back on the steep slopes in inclement weather will be nearly impossible.
* The intersection has two steep banks.  Will the easements and setbacks allow for this intersection?
Note #2
* Old Ridge Road will intersect with the turning lane of the signaled intersection.  Is this allowable, or will the intersection of Old Ridge Road need to be relocated?
Note #3
* Widening the Road will be necessary, and may even require sidewalks.  The banks are steep on either side of the road.  Cutting into the banks will likely require more land than the allowable easement.  Will the property owners need to be compensated for this? �
* If the bank is not cut back, then a costly retaining wall will need to be constructed.
*Utility poles will need to be relocated or direct buried.
Note #4
* Widening the Road will be necessary, and may even require sidewalks.  The banks slope down on either side of the road, and have guardrails.  Filling in the slopes to widen the roads will be necessary.  This will likely require more land than the allowable easement.  Will the property owners need to be compensated for this?
* If the slopes are not filled in, then costly retaining walls will need to be constructed.
* Utility poles will need to be relocated or direct buried.
Note #5
* This turn is a narrow sharp 90 degree turn, with steep banks on both sides.
* Cutting into the banks will likely require more than the allowable easement.  Will the property owners need to be compensated for this? �
* If the bank is not cut back, costly retaining walls will need to be constructed.
Note #6
* This section of the road will need to be widened and improved prior to the school opening and before the College Avenue extension is opened.  Does it make sense to overspend money to improve this road section, when it will eventually return to a low traffic local access road?
* Will sidewalks be required?  Who pays for sidewalks?
* Utility poles will need to be relocated or direct buried.

Other notes:
* Modifying this steeply sloped and banks country road to accept bus traffic will be costly and difficult.  Who is going to pay for the improvements?  MJT or EASD?
* Given that road improvements will be needed, is it possible to have these improvements engineered and completed before the school opens?
* The Bus route distance from the high school to the proposed Intermediate school will be 2.58 Miles.  This distance is actually ¼ mile further than Fairview Elementary school.�
* The bus route from the intermediate school involves three left turns, and one left turn onto Elizabethtown Road is particularly difficult and dangerous.  The left turn on Ridge Road would be extremely difficult and dangerous without a traffic signal (See note #1)

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania Citizen Journalism