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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WHS Parking....Privilege or Problem

A joint effort between the Westfield Town Council and Board of Education will look to solve the traffic safety and parking issues on streets surrounding Westfield High School.  Tonight's meeting allowed residents to voice their concerns and express their frustrations with regards to the ongoing high school parking dilemma that has plagued the area for years.

For most of the meeting Gordon Meth,  the Town of Westfield's "on-call" traffic safety engineer, fielded residents concerns and complaints and compiled a list of issues in this "first step to gather information."

Gordon Meth highlighted some of the concerns of residents that were obtained from a survey that had been previously handed out.  They included:
*Turning is difficult at Trinity & First St. due to cars parked up to the corner
*Drivers do not yield to students in crosswalks
*To many illegal U-turns on Trinity Pl.
*Drivers don't obey crossing guards at Rahway Ave. & Dorian Rd. and Westfield Ave. & Dorian Rd.
*Significant delays during the morning school drop off period caused by:
     -Parking on Trinity and Dorian during snow emergencies
     -Left turns from Dorian onto Rahway Ave. and onto Westfield Ave.

G. Meth did indicate that "everything is on the table" with regards to the suggestions offered by residents.  He indicated that for tonight's meeting, "We are not here to talk about solutions."

Many of the concerns of local resident's were echoed throughout the night as resident after resident approached the open microphone to offer their experiences in dealing with the parking problem in the neighborhoods around WHS.

One resident from the area of Shadowlawn Dr. recounted how she has found everything from an empty Jim Beam bottle to used condom wrappers in the gutter in front of her house.  She stated that "kids are getting high" in their cars that are parked on the street in front of her residence.  Kids walk across the front of her lawn leaving garbage. 

One common denominator of each resident that spoke, was how they believe the high school students have a lack of respect for those that live in the community surrounding the high school.

Another resident pointed out that neighboring communities such as Scotch Plains and Cranford had similar parking issues and were able to resolve them, therefore Westfield should be able to do so.

Some of the suggestions to improve parking for high school students included:
 *building a parking deck where the current lot stands
 *allowing students to park at Memorial pool and shuttle them to the high school by bus
 *restricting parking for Senior class only
 *extend the current paking lot along Rahway Ave. all the way to Dorian Rd.
 *install a "horse-shoe" driveway in front of WHS for bus and other vehicle drop-off

The Fact of The Matter is:  there was a time when the bicycle racks were full, the side streets were empty and there was no such thing as "open lunch."

Today, the bicycle racks are empty, the side streets are full of parked cars, and the junior and senior class enjoy the liberty of an "open lunch" policy allowing them to leave school grounds........thus needing a car. 

Simple Solution?  Anyone?


  1. You are absolutely correct about open lunch. But here is a second proposal. Divide the side street parking into numbered spots and give each student a permit for a designated spot. Let the homeowner across from said spot know the identity of their "guest" and give them student's parent's phone number. I bet the respect changes.

  2. #1). End "open" lunch.

    #2.) The HS needs to push carpooling, biking, and walking to school. Set up some type of incentive program for those who DON'T drive to school.

    #3.) Short of the above: odd / even parking privileges.

  3. Car pooling is out of the question. Most high school students are on restricted licenses. Only one non family person in the vehicle.

  4. What kid at WHS follow any driving rule or restriction? Do u people ever go by the high school or are u to busy living under your rock.

  5. Hey I say leave it as is the town can use the money from the parking tickets.

  6. What about valet parking? Have the valet parking service park the cars at Memorial Pool.

    No need for a parking deck, but a drop off drive leading up to the front door of the HS would help.

  7. If they end "open lunch" they'll have to go upscale with the food offerings in the WHS cafeteria. PBJ's, pizza, and tater tots aren't going cut it with a WHS clientele which has become accustomed to panninnis, sushi, and coffee bar barristas during their lunch break.

  8. Whatever happened to walking to school, hitching a ride, or riding one's bike? What's next, a monorail system for school commuting?

  9. The littering problem is a concern, but take a look at any field used for a sporting event in town on the weekend. Water bottles, trash, litter everywhere along the sidelines. Some people refuse to pick up after themselves, they can't be bothered.