School board hears report on parking problems at SPHS

February 12, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Brian D. Wilson

Santa Paula Times

Trustees of the Santa Paula Unified School District heard a report on parking problems and possible solutions at Santa Paula High School at their first meeting of the month.

Staff members from the district recently met with City staff to discuss potential solutions, both short term and long term, for parking and traffic flow. Parking on the campus has been impacted by the current construction project on 5th Street, which has taken two parking lots away and will, when completed, return one lot with 29 total spaces.

The construction of the Science and Technology buildings is slated for completion in August of this year. That will open up about 14 additional parking spaces on lower 5th Street.

Assistant Superintendent Donna Rose reported to the board that she, along with other district personnel met with Police Chief Stephen McLean, Fire Chief Rick Araiza and Director of Public Works Brian Yanez. Rose said the meeting was a very collaborative and productive conversation. “Many ideas were discussed as potential solutions to either the short term situation while construction is in progress as well as longer term ideas to support the needs of the campus and community,” she added.

Some of the parking solutions brought up for consideration included: changing the parking on 5th Street from parallel to angled parking; eliminating a grass area on upper 5th and converting it to parking; using Virginia Terrace on the north border of the campus. Many staff and students are currently using that area for parking.

For large events on campus ideas include blocking off Palm Court and only allowing residents to enter, using other parking lots such as other school sites and offering shuttle service and reviewing instructions sent to visiting schools as to where to park and where buses can be unloaded.

Concerning traffic flow, they discussed having police traffic enforcement to monitor and issue warnings or tickets when warranted and to possibly make Palm Court a one-way street. The committee also talked about opening up the gate at the top of Palm Court at 5th Street.

In addition they talked about the need to keep the gate open for pedestrians on 6th Street. Also, The City operates a bus line specifically designed for students to get to and from schools in the district. Rose noted that ridership is currently low. She said the city would like to work collaboratively with the school district to increase ridership. A monthly pass is $20. The city is suggesting the school board consider subsidizing the bus passes for students. The result would likely mean a decrease in the number of cars during the morning drop-off and the afternoon school pickup times.

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