Dangerous traffic situations around North prompted concerns for the School Council which met Monday, Feb. 5.
“There are a lot of different ways to see the problem,” said parent and council member Alicia Matos. “Students say we need more parking. Parents want less traffic and a bigger blue zone, so it’s identifying what the problem or problems really are that we need to do as a community.”
The drop off area on Tiger Drive, also known as the “blue zone” to parents and teachers, is an area that members of the council said they believe is too small for such a large school.
The council also discussed adding more bike racks and encouraging students to commute on foot, in its meeting with Alicia Bowman, the Transportation Advisor to the Mayor, who sat in with the council.
“The city is looking for you to come to them,” Bowman said to the School Council. “I would hope that we as a community are concerned about the safety of our children going to school, or about traffic, or bike safety—we need to show our concern.”
The council members strategized ways to gain support from the City of Newton, and a small subdivision was assigned to work on a short statement describing the traffic problem around North.
The members discussed creating a bigger blue zone somewhere farther away from the school in order to reduce traffic around the school. Walnut Street and Lowell Avenue are also currently being reviewed by the city as two very dangerous streets for biking and walking.
According to Bowman, however, making these changes is not simple. “We need to make our roads safer,” she said. “But when we go to make changes, the neighbors complain saying they like how things are.”
Bike lanes, bike racks, and a bigger drop off zone for parents were discussed as a possible future addition. However, this would cut into student parking and principal Henry Turner talked about the downside of this.
“There will be push backs; students may be upset about the reduced parking if these things were added,” said Turner. “We need to be sensitive towards making these solutions.”
North’s School Council is made up of students, teachers, parents, and members of the community.