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Schools postpone release of traffic safety study
Safety group, city to discuss road connecting three schools
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Gainesville City School Board meeting
When: 6 tonight
Where: Gainesville Exploration Academy, 1145 McEver Road

Gainesville City Schools officials are postponing the release of a report studying traffic safety on the road connecting Gainesville High School, Centennial Arts Academy and Wood's Mill High School.

The traffic safety study group is looking at ways to improve conditions for staff and students walking to school during pickup and drop-off hours. There is staff parking on both sides of Century Place next to Centennial.

Gainesville Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said completion of the group's study, which had an original deadline of today's Gainesville School Board meeting, was put off until March pending discussion with city of Gainesville officials.

In January, the school board discussed traffic safety involving the three schools, which are in close proximity.

"There is a staff and student safety issue with Wood's Mill Road in the curve between Wood's Mill and Centennial," board member Sammy Smith said.

He cited that "there have been some near-accidents and some student safety matters" with a curve between Wood's Mill Road and Century Place.

Charlene Williams, principal at Centennial said, "As teachers and children are getting out of their cars, they're having near-misses with the cars and buses coming through (and) the cafeteria staff in the morning and the custodians as they're taking the breakfast trash out."

Dyer said Monday the key issue is too much vehicle traffic in the area. She said the traffic safety group is looking at several options to decrease vehicle traffic in that area.

As possible solutions, the school system may seek to have some parents drop students off at satellite bus pickup spots, Dyer said.

In such a scenario, parents could drop students off at places like the Green Street pool, and buses would carry students the rest of the way.

"We need more people on the bus and less cars," Dyer said.

The school system may also ask city of Gainesville officials to close Elephant Trail to traffic during peak times.