Steamboat Today host Erin Collins interviews Soda Creek Elementary School Principal Judy Harris about construction on the school, which will begin this summer. Watch Steamboat Today from 7 to 9 a.m. daily on Steamboat TV18.
Steamboat Springs Old Town residents are concerned about traffic and parking when Soda Creek Elementary School moves to a temporary facility at the George P. Sauer Human Services Center.
The concerns were raised Thursday during a public meeting hosted by the school district to discuss the pending move.
Soda Creek Elementary School Principal Judy Harris and Superintendent Donna Howell told Old Town residents the school district wants to be a good neighbor. The temporary move of Soda Creek to the Human Services Center and the vacant grass lot adjacent to the Seventh Street location will begin this summer. Construction on a new Soda Creek is scheduled to begin after school lets out.
"Pine Street already has a bunch of high school kids dashing up and down," said Joe Fogliano, who attended Thursday's afternoon meeting with wife Edie Fogliano. They live on Pine between Fifth and Sixth Streets. "From what I've seen, everyone drops their children off individually. What can be done to alleviate the bottlenecks? How can we encourage people to take the bus?"
"I'll jump on that," said Kent Nightwalker, a resident of Eighth Street. "Are there going to be traffic signs? How are you going to do accident prevention?"
Parking is limited near the Human Services Center because the only off-street parking is a single line of diagonal parking spots on Eighth Street and less than a dozen vertical spots to the north of the Human Services Center.
Every other parking place is on-street.
"There is not a set plan," said Todd Ficken, the district's owner's representative for the upcoming school construction projects at Soda Creek, Strawberry Park Elementary School and the Steamboat Springs Middle School.
Residents wanted to know when a plan would be in place. Ficken said he and Bill Fox, a transportation expert who has worked with the district and city on previous projects, will start planning next week. Ficken estimated they would have traffic plans to review in about a month.
Harris said Fox has been at Soda Creek to do traffic studies and collect data, so he is prepared to help create a plan.
"We really want to be good neighbors," Harris said. "There are parents talking about using city buses or school buses more. I don't have an answer. We have a large number of active parents. For some, it's an important part of their day, bringing their children to school and picking them up."
Edie Fogliano still has questions about the parking burden that the neighborhood near the Human Services Center will see in August. "My concern is they are going to end up at my house," she said.
"I'll be honest," Ficken said. "It is going to create a certain level of change, but I encourage everyone that it's only temporary."
Residents Carol Stehley, Nightwalker and the Foglianos said they understood and didn't have a problem with the school moving to the Human Services Center temporarily as much as they wanted to stay informed of how the district is going to address their concerns.
"We know it's temporary," Nightwalker said. "We know it will be trying at times. We won't cry. We just want to know what you are doing."
Ficken said residents in the neighborhood with concerns or insight on solutions to parking and traffic flow are encouraged to contact the district office at 879-1530.
"Get them out on the table," Ficken said. "This won't be your only chance."
The district will announce its next meetings as they approach.
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