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September 16, 2013

New signage helps Flickinger Elementary parking situation

By Sarah Wojcik
C & G Staff Writer

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New signage helps Flickinger Elementary parking situation
Police hope new “No Stopping, Standing, Parking” signs that replaced the old “No Parking” signs on Remer Court will provide more safety for the 30-40 walkers who exit Flickinger Elementary through a gate near the court.

UTICA — The City Council Sept. 10 unanimously approved the installation of two ‘No Stopping, Standing, Parking’ signs near Flickinger Elementary to decongest traffic problems on McClellan Street and Remer Court.

“Parents were wanting to jump on beating traffic out of the school, and it was creating a hazard, with the kids that do walk home from school, or parents parked there doing quick U-turns,” Police Chief David Faber said. “Flickinger has a nice flow plan on the east side of the school for parents to pull in the lot, pick up the child and exit right out onto McClellan, so that’s the reason these orders were instituted.”

A gate backing up to Flickinger Elementary lets out onto Remer Court, where cars congregate to pick up students.

Faber said that ‘No Parking’ signs were already in place on Remer Court, but when he dispatched officers to enforce them, parents argued that they were standing, not parked. The Utica Department of Public Works also installed hours on the signs near Remer Court — 8-9 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. on school days.

John Hirschmann, of Shelby Township, has been a crossing guard for three years and works the intersection at Remer Court. He said he would notify the Police Department of parents congesting the court, and police would come down, but he said the signs help more than anything.

“When the kids get out at about 3:16 (p.m.), you get about 40 kids at one time, and they take up almost the whole street. And then, when parents pick up the other kids, it’s not too safe,” Hirschmann said.

Delphine Olson and her husband, Daniel, built their house on Remer Court in 1971 and have lived there for 42 years.

Delphine Olson said the problem used to be much worse in the 1970s, estimating that 200 kids walked down the street, and cars were double-parked in the court, even in residents’ driveways. She said now, there are about 30 boys and girls.

She said the situation elevated last year with some resident-parent incidents.

“What we don’t like is when cars come and park right in front of the (school’s) sidewalk, so the students can’t get through,” Delphine Olson said. “It wouldn’t be bad if people would watch for the walkers, but they don’t, and that was our main concern: the safety of the students, because we don’t have sidewalks.”

She said the addition of a crossing guard, police presence and new signage has helped to curb dangerous situations, such as when she would watch from her window, horrified that a child would get hurt.

“They have no concern for other people, but overall, we’ve not had a problem with most of the people that pick up their children.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at swojcik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1029.