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Morning traffic takes its toll

Spike in parent drop offs spur safety concerns at North Colonie school

There has been a noticeable increase in the amount of students being dropped off by their parents at Boght Hills Elementary School in the past few weeks.

There has been a noticeable increase in the amount of students being dropped off by their parents at Boght Hills Elementary School in the past few weeks. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— An unexpected wave of morning traffic at a local elementary school led educators to plead with parents to keep safety in mind and send their children to school on the bus if at all possible.

Shortly after the holiday break, there was an uptick in the number of parents dropping their children off at Boght Hills Elementary School on Dunsbach Ferry Road in Cohoes instead of taking the bus as normal, according to North Colonie Central School District officials. Traffic was backing up onto Dunsbach Ferry Road and neighbors’ driveways.

“There was a pretty dangerous situation that happened where the line was so long (parents) didn’t want to wait. They were driving too wide right in the crosswalk where children were walking,” Boght Hills Principal Kim Greiner said. “Thankfully no one was hurt, but the potential for such caused us to really reinforce the rules.”

The traffic growth in traffic led to more cars driving over the crosswalk, which is a fire lane. The elementary school’s front layout consists of two drop off circles, one closer to the school for the busses and one for normal cars. Due to the increase in car volume, many parents were driving either in the bus area or dropping their kids off outside of drop off zones, resulting in students running across moving traffic in order to get into the building. Sometimes, the traffic was so heavy students were late to class.

Over the course of a few weeks, Greiner tried different methods to stop drivers from dropping their children off in the bus circle. She said she sent home flyers with students to give to their parents, sent out an alert via email, put up cones and had staff members outside directing traffic. Nothing seemed to help.

David Morlitz, a Colonie resident and Boght Hills parent, said he had to drop off his daughter’s forgotten books one morning and saw the dangerous situation in the elementary school’s parking lot. He suggested Greiner bring a police officer out to “scare the crap out of parents.” He said he was concerned for the safety of his daughter, a bus rider, and was worried she could get hit by one of the cars.

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