Pocopson art students honored; Rt. 82 proposal advances

By JP Phillips, Staff Writer, The Times

Pocopson Elementary art teacher Sam Hage with students whose artwork is currently decorating the lobby area of the Unionville-Chadds Ford Administration office. Students included: Ava Van Duesan, Trevor Dunne, Brynn Huyler, Eshaan Chanchal, Julien Arrouays, Samantha Greaves, Lilly Smolenski, Timmy Sherman, Logan Grayston, and Nathania Gushurst.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — It was standing-room only at the September 18th Unionville Chadds-Ford School District board meeting. In addition to the Route 82 proposal vote, Pocopson art students were recognized and concerned parents discussed a Parkersville Road bus stop.

Each year, student art work brightens and beautifies the district office. Pocopson Elementary art teacher Sam Hage introduced their students whose work was selected. They were honored last night and received Art Achievement certificates. “They sometimes surprise themselves, but they never surprise me,” Hage said of their efforts, noting they sometimes voluntarily forgo recess to work on their art.

Some of the artwork currently on display.

Students celebrated include Ava Van Duesan, Trevor Dunne, Brynn Huyler, Eshaan Chanchal, Julien Arrouays, Samantha Greaves, Lilly Smolenski, Timmy Sherman, Logan Grayston, and Nathania Gushurst.

During the resident comments section, several parents brought up concerns regarding the new bus stop on Parkersville Road at Raven Lane. Because Parkersville is heavily traveled, parents are requesting that the bus back into Raven Lane to provide a safe location. They contacted the district’s Transportation department and were repeatedly told that this could not be changed due to timing/efficiency issues. Business and Operations Director Bob Cochran took contact information and will investigate the issue.

Two residents also commented about the Route 82 pedestrian safety improvement plan, one in agreement and one against. A resident from Fox Lee Manor, the development directly opposite from the schools, noted that it took her twenty-seven minutes to cross the street during this past week’s open house night because cars would not stop even though she was in the crosswalk. Another East Marlborough township resident opposed the plan, citing reports proving that car accidents are much more frequent in the stretch of road between Route 926 and Route 1 then they are in front of the schools.

Several East Marlborough Township representatives attended the meeting with their outside traffic consultant. Randy Waltermyer, Planning and Municipal Services Leader from Traffic Planning and Design Inc., will be working together with the township to apply for the grant needed to move forward. He answered board members’ questions regarding the proposed changes.

The board’s biggest concern appeared to be the current 45 miles-per-hour speed limit. Waltermyer said that the stretch of road in front of the schools is “by far” the widest stretch on Route 82 between Coatesville and Route 926. He explained each driver subconsciously sets his/her actual speed based on road width and vertical obstacles, which break up sight lines. “Straight plus wide equals fast,” was how he put it. He proposed added an overhead mast arm with flashing beacons, activated by a pedestrian pushing a button. Lights would flash for a predetermined length of time, allowing pedestrians to cross the street.

Flashing beacons like these used in Bridgeport would be proposed to help slow traffic and better mark pedestrian crossings on Route 82 near Unionville High School and Patton Middle School.

Board President Vic Dupuis asked if just adding the beacon overheads and some trees would be adequate to reduce speed instead of all aspects of the proposal. Waltermyer replied that it would not be enough to persuade PennDOT to reduce the speed limit. However, including the medians and stamped concrete as proposed plus the overhead mast bar presents a compelling case for a speed limit reduction.

Board Member Steven Simonson asked if, since construction is completely contingent on receiving the grant covering all construction costs, there was a plan B to achieve the pedestrian safety goal. East Marlborough Township Board of Supervisors Chairman Buzz Hannum replied that he would work with the school district to find an answer.

Dupuis observed that even if the grant is approved, construction would not begin until 2020. He would like to get the speed limit reduced before then. Waltermyer explained that PennDOT would not consider a speed limit reduction until three months after construction is completed, giving time for a new traffic study. Dupuis and Hannum agreed to try to go around PennDOT and straight to our local state legislators to affect more immediate change.

Board Member John Murphy asked what the chances are of the grant being approved. Waltermyer thought they were very good. Because of the amount of money available and the number of schools applying, this project has a “very competitive application.”

Dupuis stated that the evening’s conversation with the township and traffic safety expert was helpful and necessary to enable the board to vote responsibly on this proposal that was only presented to them last month.

Murphy seemed to sum it up for the group. “As a Pennsbury Township resident, I would prefer that East Marlborough pay for this completely; however, all six, or all seven of the townships have residents residing here (at the Route 82 schools), and I think it’s fair and reasonable through our school taxes that we pay for this, if that’s the only way it’s going to get done. And the way I see it, it’s $90,000 and could potentially come down to $60,000 if Longwood (Foundation) contributes, over a three or four-year period, to get a $1 million-dollar project right out front that enhances school safety. And I’m in favor of it.”

With that, the board voted unanimously to fund up to $90,000 to share in the design costs for the Route 82 safety improvements grant.

In other business, Assistant Superintendent John Nolen invited middle and high school students and their families to STEM Night 2017 on October 4th from 6:30 to 8:30 at the high school. The evening will focus on careers, real-life applications and education initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math. More details are included in a link at the bottom of this article.

Gavin Brezski

The board also introduced Unionville High School senior Gavin Brezski, the new board representative. He will attend board meetings to discuss school activities and provide student input to board discussions.

Next Up: Curriculum/Educational Technology Meeting on Monday, October 9th at 4:30, and then the Work Session at 7:30. Both meetings take place in room 14 at the District Office, adjacent to the High School. They will be broadcasted live on the UCFSD web site

STEM Night 2017 information: https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3i6gd65KfBg/WcEIPjaYtPI/AAAAAAAAON4/fHPk4kZ8hHgGmU7KJ2GdE90yl6wg53ptQCLcBGAs/s1600/STEM%2BNight%2B2017%2B%25281%2529.jpg

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