BY PAUL HUMMEL
This article originally appeared in the Feb. 20, 2017 North edition of Northern Valley Press.
HARRINGTON PARK – In response to numerous complaints from residents about mass vehicular congestion near the Harrington Park School at 191 Harriot Ave. on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., school officials recently implemented part of a comprehensive new plan designed to have school staff park their vehicles in certain sections of a neighboring church’s parking lot to lessen the traffic volume on the streets surrounding the school.
Prior to the implementation of the parking plan, there was serious thought on the part of the Harrington Park Mayor and Council to pass an ordinance limiting parking on streets surrounding the school to no more than two hours in order to prevent school staff from leaving their vehicles there for the entire school day.
Superintendent Adam Fried recently spoke about the idea of school staff parking their cars in a church lot.
“It’s all settled down and working very well at this point,” he said. “We’ve reached out to some local churches and they’ve been very agreeable and helpful and [they’ve] allowed our staff to park in portions of their parking lot and other members of our staff have found other spots throughout the community.”
Fried stated that an agreement is in place with The Community Church of Harrington Park at 1 Spring St. and he has been in contact with St. Andrew’s Church and Our Lady of Victories Church to discuss a similar plan.
“Rev. Steve Sayer [of The Community Church] has been amazing,” he said. “They’ve been very gracious and we’re blessed to have great people like that in our community.”
Still to be worked out is the cost to the school for renting out the portion of the church’s parking lot.
Fried was very enthusiastic about the second part of his parking plan in order to solve a problem that has plagued the school for over four decades. In fact, Fried says he found an engineering plan from 1973 that indicates parking was already a problem back then.
“What we’ve really done is create a long-term fix using a grant application for a state school,” Fried added.
“We’re applying not this summer but next summer for quite a substantial grant in conjunction with the municipality and it’s our hope that next summer we will be able to create a safer access to the school for everyone and have more parking available, better flow through the front of the building and a basic redesign of our western parking lot.”