A second access road at the Gorman Fort Banks School located on Kennedy Drive is in the planning stage and could be ready for use by the start of 2012.
Town Council Jeffrey Turco has brought forth the proposal for a new road that would help alleviate the traffic tie-ups that occur at the start of the school day but more so at the end of the school day in the afternoon when people arrive by vehicles to transport children. The school houses students in pre-kindergarten through grade two.
Turco and other town and school officials appeared at a forum at the school Monday night to discuss the proposal with parents, schoolteachers, and neighbors of the school.
“Having just the one road creates big traffic jams and there has been a public safety danger that has existed since the school opened,” said Turco. “There is public safety danger to the citizens who reside on Overlook Drive and to the children and staff at the school. This has been a 10-year discussion and nobody has been willing to step up and say we have to get this done.”
Turco said the construction of a new road is a “top priority.”
“When you talk to the town manager, police chief, fire chief, or DPW director, they’ll all tell you that this ongoing situation is sort of a municipal embarrassment that’s been allowed to linger,” said Turco. “There have been traffic studies done but this time it’s to the point where we need to get it done and get it done this fall.”
Turco and “the working group” consisting of Town Manager James McKenna, Superintendent of Schools John Macero, School Principal Ilene Pearson, Interim DPW Director Steve Calla, Police Chief Terence Delehanty, and Fire Chief Paul Flanagan agreed that the best option would be to have a road situated behind the DPW Parking Lot that would continue across the rear of Governor’s Park and come out in the Banks Street area and allow access to Main Street.
“The road would be open for 90 minutes in the afternoon when parents pick up their children from school,” said Turco. “We are not going to mandate that people use this road. If you’re going to the Highlands, you’ll be able to turn around and exit on Kennedy Drive.”
The access road plan will ultimately come before the Town Council for a vote of approval. An application has been filed with the Conservation Commission who will review the plan.
“I really think that this has to be done by the start of the new year so it doesn’t get caught up in some of transitions that will be taking place on the Council and School Committee,” said Turco.