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Police Warn Of Vehicles Crowding Streets Near City Schools

A school bus is pictured Wednesday afternoon on a crowded Spring Street outside Love Elementary School in Jamestown. The Jamestown Police Department has received complaints of gridlocks caused by vehicles parking on both sides of the road near schools. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

Although Shalyn Kopta lives only blocks away from Samuel G. Love Elementary School in Jamestown, she won’t allow her daughter to walk the short distance to class.

“I will drive her to school, to and from. I’m even afraid to walk there — I’ve seen so many close calls,” said Kopta, who on Tuesday shared a photograph she took of vehicles lining both sides of Spring Street outside Love Elementary School. That prompted the Jamestown Police Department to post a lengthy message to Facebook on Wednesday, stating that the gridlock caused by the vehicles was “completely unacceptable.”

Further, the department said it has received similar complaints for just about every school in the district.

“People are parking facing both directions on both sides of the streets — and then people are traveling both directions down the ‘middle lane’ causing a gridlock,” Jamestown police said. “This is dangerous for vehicle traffic, emergency motor vehicle traffic (the Jamestown Fire Department fire trucks and ambulance can’t get through), and especially pedestrian traffic.”

The following streets and schools were noted as being problematic: Beechview Avenue for students attending Washington Middle School; Hotchkiss Street and Dearing Avenue for students attending C.C. Ring; Spring Street for students attending Samuel G. Love Elementary School; Myrtle Street for students attending Fletcher Elementary School; Highland Avenue for students attending Lincoln Elementary School; and East Second Street for students attending Jamestown High School.

“We have tried educating parents and others who pick up and drop off children at the school,” JPD said. “Tickets will continue to be issued as this is completely unacceptable.”

Kopta said she appreciated the quick response by local police. She said in addition to congestion, vehicles too often drive at unsafe speeds on Eighth Street near the elementary school, disregarding pedestrian crossing paths.

“They go through there, driving like crazy,” said Kopta, also questioning why the school no longer has a crossing guard posted outside in the mornings and afternoons.

The Jamestown Public Schools District posted the following statement: “The safety of our students and staff are our No. 1 priority and we need our community to help by obeying all traffic laws, which include alternative parking during the winter and parking only in designated areas in a school zone. If you are unsure, please ask. The JPD will enforce these traffic laws with tickets so please share with our community. Thank you for helping to keep our schools safe.”

Efforts to combat busy streets surrounding schools come a month after the school district and Mayor Eddie Sundquist announced a traffic study near Persell Middle School. The study, Sundquist said, will be utilized to find ways to increase student and pedestrian safety after two students were struck by vehicles in separate incidents.

Whitaker, meanwhile, said student safety remained a high priority.

“The recent incidents involving students crossing Hazeltine is highly concerning and it is important that we take action,” Whitaker said at the time of the second accident. “We immediately increased supervision and monitoring during arrival and dismissal, and will continue to communicate with students and parents about crossing only in crosswalks. I have always found the city to be a collaborative partner, and I thank the mayor for that. I know that we all look forward to working with Mayor Sundquist and his team on solutions to improve student and school zone safety throughout Jamestown.”

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