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April  20

Montclair Board Of Ed - Got Something Against Green?

The Board of Ed's environmental report card isn't looking too good lately. First it was the trees, then the diesel fumes, and now it's traffic congestion.  They just got a big fat F for the for the heavily congested location of a new elementary school planned at Washington, Elm and Fulton Streets. That stirred things up at a BOE/Planning Board meeting Monday night as plans for a new elementary school and the Woodman Field House expansion were scrutinized.  From the Montclair Times:

Architects from The Thomas Group, the architectural firm hired by the Montclair School District, said about 15 cars could fit onto the Bloomfield Avenue entrance to drop off and pick up students, though parents could also take another route to drop off their children. Planning Board members noted that if the school will hold 550 students and about 30 to 50 percent of students are dropped off by their parents, then that leaves about 250 vehicles scrambling to find an area to drop off or pick up children. “Where are all of these vehicles going to fit? Where are they going to drop them off?” asked Planning Board member Frank Haimbach. “If we haven’t thought about that, then we have a big problem.” Questions were also raised regarding a traffic study of the area. A grade lettering of “A” was presented for the less congested streets and an “F” for the most congested areas. Washington and Elm streets were graded with “Fs.”

Residents across from Woodman field spent an hour and a half discussing issues about parking, excessive lighting, and questioned if buses will be able to turn around on the narrow street:

“There are cars parked up and down Essex Avenue, so buses aren’t going to be able to turn because the street isn’t wide enough,” Langell said. “It’s not physically possible.

Joan Furlong, whose family is donating $3.75 million of the total $4.75 million cost for the Field House expansion, also spoke at the meeting and recommended that the municipal government create a parking task force.

April 20, 2006 in Controversy | Permalink


Is anyone surprised by this?

Just spend a few minutes at the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Grove/Elm and you will see congestion especially during the morning and evening weekday rush hours.

Can you imagine what the intersection will look like once the school is built and parents scurry to drop off or pick up there kids?

Whatever happened to those days when kids walked to school?

Posted by: Franklin | Apr 20, 2006 2:10:23 PM

And when someone in the audience asked them, "Gee, isn't there another school in the vicinity (Glenfield) with it's own traffic?" they acted surprised.

In fact, Glenfield is less than 900 feet away and it's traffic is going to let out on some of the same streets making the situation even worse!

Posted by: beepbeep | Apr 20, 2006 3:11:43 PM

I hope the township of Montclair hasn't paid some consulting firm huge bucks to uncover the obvious.

Just call together a focus group of town people and you'll hear the answers in no time.

The Board of Education and the Town Council needs do what we tell our kids to do.

Just stop and listen!

Posted by: Franklin | Apr 20, 2006 3:18:13 PM

Here's another example of the town rushing into something without thinking of the implications. Instead of spending $millions to but all those properties to put up the $35 million school, did they think of expanding Rand which the town already owns(which has tons of property to expand onto)? Did they think of buying the co-op school which is moving? Is the only choice available the plot of land around the corner from one of the busiest intersections in town??? We need a change in the BOE (at least)!

Posted by: TAXED TO DEATH!!! | Apr 20, 2006 4:14:48 PM

A few comments:
In terms of traffic congestion, if the proposed new school is an elementary school, school hours will start and end later than Glenfield.

Both the Rand and Coop properties have very little parking now, and certainly not enough to tackle the street congestion created by a building/addition that would accommodate 500+ new students. The neighbors of the high school can tell you that street parking and congestion is a problem now--see this week's Montclair Times.

Posted by: google addict | Apr 20, 2006 4:26:27 PM

Clearly the answer is to pick some off the beaten path plot in a quiet neighborhood on street without much traffic, condemn 5 houses by eminent domain and erect the school there. Any nominations?

I suggest Porter Park.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Apr 20, 2006 4:36:39 PM

Its the same as the Field House. There are a hundred cars parked all day every weekend. How are they thinking they can turn the buses on the same streets? The architects hadnt even figured out the correct angle for the bus turn, even after questions were raised a year ago about that exact question. It seems that the BOE just wants to ignore the reality of the situation.

Posted by: Jimmy229oz | Apr 20, 2006 4:43:06 PM

They should have taken over the old hospital site instead of allowing developers to vomit up more condos.

Posted by: Jimmy229oz | Apr 20, 2006 4:44:31 PM

"taken over" ?

The hospital property did not belong to the town. So, what do you mean? Outbid the private developers for the land?

And here I thought you fashioned yourself as a fiscal watchdog of the BOE!

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Apr 20, 2006 4:48:11 PM

I see youre back in action spreading your wisdom.
I fashion myself as nothing more than sick of the your comments and the BOEs lack of planning and thrift.
As much as I hate to give you credit, I will this once.
Eminent domain works in some cases. It couldnt have been any worse then the path they chose.

Posted by: Jimmy229oz | Apr 20, 2006 4:52:51 PM

I think the 250 vehicles figure is a doom and gloom prediction -- Nishuane has over 600 students and it's not a horrorshow.

The BOE website says (italics added by me):

Q: What impact will there be on parking and traffic in the neighborhood?

A: The design that was finally approved by the district last month was the best of the many designs the architects developed in terms of traffic and consideration for the neighborhood. The building will now face north, away from traffic and businesses on Fulton Street. This will reduce distractions to the students during their school day, and allow fewer disruptions to neighbors. There will be one-way access through the school site to Bloomfield Avenue to help streamline traffic, and a bus drop-off area that is also big enough to accommodate parents’ vehicles. Many of our existing schools don’t have drop-off areas or secondary street access as the new school will. In our discussions with the architects, traffic considerations were a priority from the beginning. There will also be a 96-space parking lot for faculty and visitors.

Posted by: appletony | Apr 20, 2006 4:53:00 PM

Jimmy - you have a very odd fixation with the BOE. Do you park outside their houses and stalk them!? I think I saw Dr. Alvarez pay too much for an apple last week at Whole Foods, did you persecute him!? I hope so! Fool, fool, fool!

Posted by: Butch | Apr 20, 2006 4:53:41 PM

For heaven's sake, doesn't anybody walk to school anymore. Montclair is only about 10 miles long and 1 mile wide. Seems to me every school is within walking distance of a good part of the child population. When I went to school, in prehistoric times, most of us walked at least 1 to 2 miles to school - and we had no fat slobs in our age category.

Posted by: Byron | Apr 20, 2006 4:54:02 PM

Thanks for the heads up at Whole foods Butch, I'll look into it.

Posted by: Jimmy229oz | Apr 20, 2006 4:56:21 PM

Byron, owing to the magnet school system most of the kids are bused around town.

I agree with appletony. Nishuane has a lot of kids and it is fine.

This is what the New York Sun recently dubbed the BANANA syndrome.

Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.

The public process the BOE is going through to solicit and work with the neighbors is part of the public process for this kind of thing.

It's a pity some need to take the low road and resist *everything* and *everybody*.

But look on the "bright" side, at least the Washington Street school is not planning lights in the shrubs lighting the building that will magically bend time and space to "shine in the windows" of the neighbors!

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Apr 20, 2006 5:01:24 PM

That's no scandal Butch, *everybody* overpays for apples at Whole Foods.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Apr 20, 2006 5:02:50 PM


My suggestion of eminent domain was facetious.

However, I hope everyone will notice:

"Eminent domain works in some cases. It couldn't have been any worse then the path they chose."

The fruits of socialism!

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Apr 20, 2006 5:07:30 PM

Right of Crazy... at it again.

Posted by: lasermike026 | Apr 20, 2006 5:14:45 PM

lasermike, you've moved from thread to thread today calling names. But you shall not escape the wrath of the silent local hordes of troll slave minions. Back to bussing idling schoolbuses!

Posted by: cathar | Apr 20, 2006 5:50:22 PM

'troll slave minions' rock.
now, back to bussing idling school busses.

where is my damn copy of "american spectator"

william kristol rocks

Posted by: Iceman | Apr 20, 2006 10:45:49 PM

Dear Ap,

I think that stuff on the web site is old. Someone should post the pictures that all saw this week so that accurate comments can be made. Access is TO the school from Bloomfield. There's enough room to park maybe four buses in front of the school. And the parking? It's across Washington Ave from the school. The picture showed buses snaking through parked cars and it sure didn't look like it made much sense.

We need the renderings!

As to location for building a new school, Why not the site where they built the garage for DCH auto group? It's public land, adjacent to the BOE and across from Hillside.

Posted by: beepbeep | Apr 21, 2006 12:00:41 AM


seems a little rash doesn't it? Tear down a perfectly good, brand new parking structure?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Apr 21, 2006 12:10:26 AM


was he using BOE money? if so an investigation is in order. thanks for the tip. i understand that you live in jesey city now. good to know for when we have to subpoena you.

Posted by: pissant | Apr 21, 2006 12:23:50 AM


don't slip on your banannna!

maybe we should annex the DCH structure under emminent domain.

didn't we pay to build it.

or they paid to build it but now pay no taxes.

or we paid to build it and now they pay no taxes.

it was somehting like that. beepbeep is right. the school should have been built there instead.

where are the BLEEPING renderings? why can't the BOE post them? or the town post them? or alvarez post them?

Posted by: pissant | Apr 21, 2006 12:28:46 AM

Dear Right,

The decision could have been made to build the school on the DCH site BEFORE the lot was built. Given the BOE building, the pre-school, and Hillside school right across the street we could have had a nice education complex, instead of a 700 car parking lot for a car dealer's inventory.

P.S. They paid to build it. We own the land. They pay no taxes for 30 years or so, but do pay something per year.

Posted by: beepbeep | Apr 21, 2006 7:26:06 AM

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