Massena village trustees address parking issue near junior high school

Nov. 21—MASSENA — On-street parking in the Highland Avenue and School Street area near J.W. Leary Junior High School is causing concerns, but village trustees aren't sure how to address them.

"The school district has a problem and it's at the junior high. Parents are not using the appropriate pickup and drop-off lane that's behind the school where we actually put up no parking signs to make sure that the flow works well," Mayor Gregory M. Paquin said. "Not liking that, now what the parents are doing is they're going out the front and parking on School Street, kind of across and around the corner. It's blocking buses trying to get out, and kids are darting across to get to the cars. It's dangerous."

Mr. Paquin said he receives complaints, so he sends emails to the school district, and those end up with Police Chief Jason M. Olson. But, putting up no parking signs is difficult, he said.

"I was thinking about this. The side of the street that you'd have to put the signs up goes in somebody's yard. Are they going to want those in their yard?" he said.

Trustee Christine M. Winston asked if residents are complaining about the vehicles.

"It's mostly from the bus drivers," Mr. Paquin said.

"Bus drivers can't get through," Ms. Winston said.

Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire asked if the school is looking for no parking signs to be placed in the problem area.

"No, they've never said that. But, I'm just saying the complaints I get, it's from the bus drivers. I get them because I think the bus drivers have tried to talk to people that are considered their bosses, but nothing's getting done, and I'm not really sure what they can do," Mr. Paquin said.

Chief Olson said his concern is where the signs would be placed, "and do we create another issue right on top of the issue that we already have?"

Mr. Paquin said he doesn't think it would be wise to put signs up.

"Maybe all it is, is you send the police car right there and you just sit there. Of course, we seem to be doing this a lot," he said.

"If it's not designated 'no parking,' then we really have no teeth behind it. If it is, then certainly we do," Chief Olson said.

Village administrator Monique N. Chatland said there is also a concern about traffic from School Street up to Nightengale Elementary School, "actually down to the parent drop-off at Nightengale."

Ms. Winston said the morning drop-offs is also an issue.

"I don't know if it's thing where seventh graders have a different drop-off time than eighth graders because as a mom who has to get to work, you don't want to wait up there for 30 minutes. So, if you drop off on School Street, they can get out and walk up the hill. So, is that something the school district could do is change dismissal or drop-off or pickup times to make more of a flow so we don't have such a backup from two schools at the same time?" she asked.

Ms. Winston said another issue with the junior high is students cannot enter the building before 7:20 a.m., but have to be in the building by 7:30 a.m.

"So, it's a mad rush or else they get detention. But, they also don't want to stand in the cold for 10 minutes," she said.

"Sounds like there's some possibility the school could look at," Mr. LeBire said.

One of the possibilities, trustees said, is to establish an early morning program that would allow the students to enter the building earlier.

Ms. Chatland said she had received an email from Superintendent Patrick H. Brady, who said he would be meeting with junior high officials to discuss the issue.

"Let me report back to you guys," Mr. Paquin said.