NISKAYUNA: Traffic snags near school expected

The beginning of a new school year means more than just the usual textbooks and teachers to those driving near Niskayuna high school. Instead, a construction project that's revamping much of the building also entails major changes in traffic patterns that will have a direct impact on the morning commute along two of the areas busiest roadways Balltown Road and Nott Street.

School officials say that morning traffic tie-ups were an issue even before the construction began, and they are seeking to minimize any issues on the public roadways.

Even with the availability of the front entrance circle, traffic congestion between 7:15 and 8 a.m. has been an issue at the high school," said assistant principal Mark Treanor. "Safety is our primary concern."

The biggest change involves a new requirement that all students driving to school must use the Balltown Road entrance when arriving and leaving the building. Under this guideline, the student parking lot will still be available, but it won't be possible to cut through to the other lots on campus.

Parents taking students to school must also use the Balltown Road entrance, but they should turn left at the stop sign and drop them off at the pool entrance. On their way out, school officials want them to "loop around and leave via Balltown Road."

In another major change for traffic, the Nott Street entrance to the school will be used strictly for school buses and access to staff parking.

"The goal is to maximize parking availability, provide for a safe pick up and departure for students and reduce congestion, particularly in the morning," according to information provided by the district.

The change in traffic flow has raised concerns that additional vehicles will end up on Balltown Road causing increased tie-ups and delays for morning commuters.

"I am glad they are still going to be using Nott Street east to ease off some of the additional congestion that could pile up on Balltown Road," said town board member Bill Chapman. "In the morning, there's a real crunch with commuter traffic, and it causes some delays that are an inconvenience during the morning drive. I know the district met with the chief of police in developing this plan and hopefully it will minimize the problem."

For a map of the changes in traffic flow, you can go to the school district's Web site at www.niskayunaschools.org. The changes are expected to remain in place throughout the 2007-08 school year.""

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