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Council considers new school visitor parking slots

A measure proposed by Mayor David Carucci to establish two school visitor parking spaces in the congested block around Olean High School was tabled by the Common Council's Public Safety Committee after some discussion Tuesday night.

Alderwoman Linda Edstrom, who is employed at the school, argued to put the proposal aside until school officials can scout alternative options in diagonal parking spots along Reed Street, an area on the north side of the High School that the school has designated for use by parents of special-education students. She said she saw both sides of the issue and recognizes that some visitors need to park near the front entrance, which is the only door not in a lock-down condition.

"I really feel it would be a positive endeavor for the school for someone coming in to visit, and most of the major businesses have visitor spots close to the front door," Carucci told the committee members.

The aldermen questioned Carucci about the recent move of handicap spots from North Third to another spot near the school, suggesting the Council should be informed and overseeing those decisions because of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

"The problem is [that] in the Third and Fourth Street and Sullivan Street neighborhood around the High School is an awful lot of people living who need to park," said Edstrom on the topic of the visitor parking proposal. She then questioned if, like the two-hour parking signs, enforcement might be lacking.

Alderman Earl McElfresh said he recently viewed drawings by one of the city's engineers for the school's proposed construction of a large 20 to 30 space parking lot on the high school grounds bordering Sullivan Street and asked for Carucci's assurance that the plans for curb cuts and subways will be put up to the Council for approval.

After the meeting Carucci said the topic was explored when he met with the school to map out upcoming work on a $375,000 shared-services grant awarded to the city and the school district by the Safe Routes to Schools Program. While the parking lot would not be part of the grant project, he said the city's engineer drew the plan as a shared service and that the city and school district often share resources in that way.

Also during the meeting, the aldermen voted to send a codes amendment resolution to the Council that would remove two-hour-limit parking signs from North Third Street that are not being enforced.

The aldermen also received a presentation on the city's property revaluation that will conclude in the spring. Residents may attend informational sessions this week to learn about their new assessments, which are based on a July 2008 market value.

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