Kirsten Mustain

Grove Sun

Grove City Council voted to change streets surrounding the Grove Mid-School and Upper and Lower Elementary schools to one-way before summer ends at a regular meeting Tuesday night.

The change, which is aimed at enhancing traffic flow and making student drop-off and pick-up safer, was recommended by a recent traffic study done by Rose-McCrary for the city and school.

Tim McCrary, in his presentation of the study to the council, suggested that Seventh, Tenth and Center Streets be changed to one-way so that traffic will loop around the school in a clockwise direction. Inside lanes will be reserved for dropping students off and picking them up and outside lanes will be reserved for through traffic.

The traffic study has been in the works since August 2007. It was contracted by the city and the school together in August 2009.

McCrary said the goals of the traffic study were to identify areas of potential safety hazards and traffic congestion and recommend ways to alleviate danger and undue traffic jams.

One of the major safety issues pinpointed by the study involved students crossing in front of traffic after being dropped off, particularly on Leisure Lane where parents often stop in the parking lot of the Methodist Church and take their young children across the street to the Early Childhood Center.

Other recommendations include adjusting the start and end times of different schools so they are staggered; improving the parking between the Upper Elementary and Mid-School; constructing new parking at the northeast corner of Eighth and Center Streets; adding signage and striping, and expanding the existing parking lot at the Early Childhood Center.

McCrary said the approximate cost of all the suggested improvements would be in the neighborhood of $200,000.

City Manager Bruce Johnson said he needed the council’s acceptance of the plan so that he could begin to readdress the issues and implement changes in the budget.

“Then I will come back with a game plan,” he said.

Council members expressed concern over the cost, but Johnson said he was confident the money could be found in the current budget.

He said it was imperative to act quickly so that residents could become accustomed to the new one-way streets before school starts.

McCrary added that changes could be made to make the plan more affordable.

In other business, council members approved leasing the pool to the YMCA for $1 per student for swimming lessons. This will allow the Y to charge the rates it deems appropriate for members and non-members.

The council also approved a master plan for updating the Grove Municipal Airport.

“This is just a plan for how we intend to develop the airport,” explained airport General Manager Terry Abercrombie. “It is not written in stone and we can change it as we need to.”

The plan, in process since 2008, is required by the FAA and was funded by a grant.