By J.W. Schnarr
Westwind Weekly News
Parents of young children at Raymond Elementary School are looking for a solution to what they say is an unworkable situation when it comes to parking along 100 North near the school.
Members of the RES Parent Council and local residents appeared before Raymond council during their regular meeting on Nov. 15 to ask council if something could be done about the number of parents receiving warnings and parking tickets when they leave their vehicles to pick up young children from the school.
“I’ve heard several complaints about this,” said Parent Council Chair Rachael Miller.
The group said parents are being told to park on side streets near the school, but many feel that having children and parents crossing the street is causing larger traffic issues. With nearly 40 spaces available for parallel parking, the group asked council to consider allowing timed parking along the street, in the five to 20 minute range.
“I’m worried about those Kindergarten children being so close to the road,” said Miller.
Mayor George Bohne said he understood the concerns of parents and that council’s first priority was safety.
“This is a tough issue,” he said. “Safety is a critical issue for us.” He noted Westwind School Division has been involved in conversations with the town on parking and traffic decisions involving Raymond schools. He added the issue has been compounded by the schools being close together and a lack of parking options for those at the schools and parents picking up their children.
Coun. Cathy Needham said council had requested more enforcement of parking rules along the street after complaints about mixed angle and parallel parking, and safety concerns in the high-traffic area.
“This is just part of a major parking issue for (RES),” said Bohne.
Following the presentation, council discussed the matter further and decided to request a meeting with local representatives of the Westwind School Division Board of Trustees in order to get a better sense of where the board stands on the issue. Council may also take the opportunity to discuss long-term options for parking in the area.
Due to the amount of confusion surrounding the issue, council also requested Administration to ask Community Peace Officers to continue to observe the issue for now but not to over-enforce parking regulations.
On Tuesday, Westwind Weekly News received an update on the parking issue that stated parents are allowed to angle park their cars ont he side of the school between the four-way stop and the bus pull-out.
Parents will be allowed to leave their vehicles for no more than 10 minutes in order to puick up their children, and no tickets will be issued.