Members of the East Penn School Board, at its meeting Monday, saw and heard about plans for traffic control that will begin at Willow Lane Elementary School when the 2013-14 school year begins in August.
District Engineer Paul Szewczak of Liberty Engineering also laid out a timeline for when the improvements will occur and how long they will take to complete.
According to the plans, the current bus and car traffic will be flipped: buses will use the driveway between the school and Lower Macungie Fire Department's Brandywine fire station. Cars will access the campus via the Millcreek Road driveway only, Szewczak said.
A bump-out will be added and paved so buses can turn around, he said, and signage and striping will be added to the school grounds and parking lot as guides for where children will be dropped off and picked up, he said.
Also, swing-arm gates will be installed at key points and will be used only during pick up and drop off of children. Otherwise they will be open to allow the flow of traffic.
"We eliminate any conflict between buses and cars with the gates," Szewczak said.
Additionally, the student walkway will be all on one side of the school so that students will have a safe place to walk where there are no cars and only bus traffic and emergency traffic can use driveway between school and firehouse. Any other vehicular access will occur only from Millcreek Road, he said.
The plans were on the meeting agenda and were to be approved until some parents said this was the first time they had seen the plans and would like to consider them further before they are approved.
"This is enhancement from original walkability study," Director Ken Bacher said, "What I have trouble with is people saying they haven’t seen this before. I certainly have seen the plan to reroute the buses and cars."
Bacher then suggested that board approval wait until the next meeting on March 11 so parents can get a look.
Parents have been eager to participate in the process, and are awaiting the formation of the advisory committee that will be headed by Principal Moyer.
Indeed, during the public comment portion of Monday's meeting, Susan Coenan, one of many parents who have been involved since the school district said it would stop busing children who live less than 1.5 miles away, criticized school board directors by asking "Where is the urgency?" when asking for any indication of the beginning of the work.
Superintendent Thomas Seidenberger assured the parents that bids for the work would go out in April or May and work on the project will start right after school is out.
Though Seidenberger would have liked to have seen the plan approved Monday, he acknowleged that, "This work is so minor this will be done by end of June or in early July."