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Beline Obeid

District revisits Monteith drop-off


July 11, 2013
Administrators from the Grosse Pointe Public School System and Grosse Pointe Woods have continued discussions on options to improve traffic flow on Cook Road during student pick-ups and drop-offs at Monteith Elementary School.

In May, the GPPSS Board of Education rejected bids for two previous options, a $285,000 curb cut on Cook Road and a $180,000 drop-off lane in front of the school on the Cook Road side; the board majority concluded neither option fully resolved the issues of traffic congestion and double parking.

"Nothing has changed since the last time we talked; the city of Grosse Pointe Woods is not volunteering to contribute to this project in any way," said deputy superintendent of business affairs Chris Fenton, who presented two other options for discussion at the June meeting.

Option one, an approximately $250,000 sidewalk addition and redesign of the entrance and exit in the parking lot off Chalfonte, is similar to designs at both Ferry and Mason elementary schools. According to Fenton, it's a wider ingress and egress, allowing for a "complete circle where kids can get dropped off."

But while widening the ingress and egress enables more traffic fluidity, as with the already rejected options, it doesn't relieve congestion enough.

Neither does option two, a U-shaped drop-off driveway off Cook Road that's estimated at $180,000. Tree removals are also required to create the driveway.

"Part of the problem is, there's more space that's needed than what appears," Fenton said.

During the discussion, treasurer Judy Gafa and trustee Cindy Pangborn offered several other suggestions, including utilizing the space near the gymnasium door for teacher parking.

But the board hasn't agreed on anything concrete of yet to improve the traffic problem, which has been revisited on several occasions in the past 50-plus years.

Current discussions heated up earlier this year. Grosse Pointe Woods Public Safety had already prohibited parking on Ida Lane, a street just off Cook Road, during morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups for safety reasons.

Woods public safety then asked the district to try and keep traffic off Cook Road.

"I guess what I would like to see is, I think Mrs. Pangborn had a good idea earlier, where maybe we need to get the Monteith community engaged again in this," said secretary Lois Valente, who visited the site with Gafa to get a better visual of the situation.

"I'm looking for a solution, and I want the solution to be comprehensive. So, a combination of what is principal (Keith) Howell willing to do, what is the PTO willing to do and try, and what format can they rally their group to support."

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