To the editor,
As a resident of Homestead Village, I understand that I am biased toward finding a solution for the long-standing traffic issue at Ridge High School. A small, quiet neighborhood is no place to reroute 27 buses and the Board of Education seems to be in agreement and working towards implementing a solution within the confines of the school property.
My concern is that any solution that is restricted to the existing school property is in no way sustainable given how quickly our community grows. The proposed solution of widening the health department driveway to allow for a left turn doesn’t seem sufficient to account for the hundreds of cars driving to and from the school or commuting through our town’s main throughway.
In addition, this plan negatively affects the residents along South Finley and they have expressed their displeasure in several Township Committee and Board of Education meetings. If this plan isn’t successful, the result will be unhappy South Finley residents, frustrated commuters, and even more cars cutting through Homestead to avoid the absurd traffic lines getting to Ridge.
Time and again, the Township Committee has maintained that paving the gravel driveway behind the municipal building is off the table as a possible solution and, as John Carpenter stated, “an even bigger mistake” than rerouting the buses through Homestead Village. I would like some data as to why this plan is a mistake. If the police are concerned about having access to the municipal building during the early morning hours in which cars will be utilizing the entrance then let us know how often that has occurred over the last ten years so we understand the impact. Every week? Every month? Once a year? Or are we just speculating on something that might be a possibility. Is there a concern that police will be unable to exit the municipal building complex during a 20-minute period each morning for the 180 days that school is in session? How often is that a necessity and is there another solution that would alleviate this concern?
The current situation has a large number of buses driving through an area where there are residents commuting, high school students walking, and parents driving children to the middle school. Add to that the 50-80 parents who also drop high school students off in the Cedar Hill parking lot and it is just a matter of time before someone gets hurt or there is a serious accident. The proposed solution seems like a band-aid on a wound that requires stitches.
Paving the gravel driveway behind the municipal building would remove over 200 cars from the traffic accessing the main entrance to the school, reduce the amount of time it takes to maneuver through the intersection, potentially allow the bus company to push back pick up times and increase the number of bus riders, and finally, create a second entrance and exit that a school this size requires. The Township Committee insists on treating residents like children, telling us that the municipal complex is not an option because they say so. Give us reasons. Treat us like adults. Like the tax-paying, voting adults that we are.
Homestead Village, Basking Ridge