WETHERSFIELD - Residents have expressed concern over the parking lot layout for the Wethersfield High School renovation plan and now the Planning and Zoning Commission is getting involved.
The commission asked for a revised plan that will separate student and parent traffic in order to alleviate anticipated congestion from a previously proposed “queue” system. The updated version of the design was presented at last Tuesday’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and met with unanimous approval by the Commission.
“The numbers indicated that you might have some stacking issues, particularly in the morning,” said Director of Planning and Economic Development Peter Gillespie.
Students will enter the school with bus traffic coming in off the Wolcott Hill Road side to the northeast of the site, Gillespie said. The plan that was previously proposed called for parent and student parking at the “loop” coming off of Jay Street and Eagle Drive. Parents would “que up” to wait for drop-off and pick-up.
“The commission members were skeptical that that was going to work effectively,” Gillespie said. “The parents would be blocking because there would be a need for crossing [the students] over, so we saw bottle necking happening.”
The bus traffic entering at the northeast side will have a queue system of its own--eight or nine spots will be set aside to accommodate waiting bus traffic, Gillespie said. Student vehicles will follow a driveway alongside the tennis courts to a parking area that will be built at the northwest end where the softball field currently is. The football practice field will be replaced by the relocated softball field.
“It’s beginning to address the concerns that have been made by the commission members,” Gillespie said of the revised plan.
Parking lot logistics has been just one component of a $75 million high school renovation project that includes the construction of three new buildings--a gymnasium, media center/library, and music building--and environmental initiatives such as a green roof and geothermal wells.