Susan Yantis, a lawyer with Hunton & Williams representing the Fairfax County School Board and Rachel Carson Middle School, presented the school’s request to add another exit from the school onto McLearen Road for school buses. According to Ms. Yantis, a second exit reserved for school buses would expedite the drop off and collection of students and decrease the queue of buses and parents leaving the school trying to get through the light a EDS Drive and McLearen Road.
The principal and other school representatives said the current ingress and egress situation is a safety issue in case an emergency occurs. No students walk to the school; buses and cars handle all transportation.
The principal said the student population this year will be more than 1,300 and the school population is estimated to grow in coming years. Carson was planned for only 1,200 students. Therefore, traffic is an issue. He explained that when FCPS made proffers in 1992 traffic was much less of an issue than it is today.
Mr. Parnes noted that parents have trouble finding adequate parking for events, such as Back to School Night. The representatives said they have an agreement with nearby businesses to use their parking lots during major evening events. The principal noted that because of the traffic lights, moving traffic after big events is very difficult.
Mr. Spurling said FCPS Design and Construction has adopted a California model of making parking surfaces pervious and they will follow “green” environmental building and construction standards.
The school representatives indicated that the proposed right turn exit for buses would be closed when not required for use by the buses. Fairfax County school bus operational policy is that school buses do not make left turns on four-lane roads except at lights. Therefore, until the proposed light at the western intersection of EDS and McLearen roads is installed, school buses exiting the middle school would have to head west on McLearen Rd to Rt 28 and the go either north or south to the next exit to return east.
The school representatives indicated that the proposed right turn exit for buses might be used to allow non-school buses to exit the property when the school held special functions, such as back to school nights and such.
The committee was concerned that if the exit was used for those functions that there be restrictions in place other than signage to ensure exiting vehicles make only right-hand turns. The school representatives suggested that a combination of pavement marking and signage would be sufficient. The committee felt that unless raised pavement or a traffic control officer was present, what was being proposed would not be sufficient to deter non-school bus traffic from making left-hand turns.
Mr. Parnes said he wants the proffer to say explicitly that the egress will be for right turns only, even during special events. He said he wants the proffer to indicate that a traffic control/police officer will direct traffic when the new exit is used to provide egress for special events. He noted that the wording of the proposed change restricting its use to school buses would make its use by non-school bus traffic on special occasions a violation of the revised proffer unless the wording was clarified.
The SDC had no objections to the proffer proposal.
Mr. Parnes, Mr. Grimm and Ms. Knight stuffed, labeled and stamped about 150 letters to homeowner associations and civic groups in the Sully District soliciting new members.
Respectively submitted by,
Sully District Council