Residents emphasize traffic, safety concerns at Sloan ‘elementary campus’ public hearing

September 15, 2018
Clara Cheng of Murrysville gives testimony during the public hearing for the Sloan elementary campus project at a Murrysville council meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018.

Many of the Franklin Regional residents who have opposed the school district’s plan to centralize its elementary students on the Sloan Elementary property recently put their concerns on the record.

Murrysville council held a public hearing for the various elements of the Sloan elementary campus project, which would see the renovation of the existing school and the construction of a second school building on the 97-acre campus.

Many of the residents opposed to the project live in the nearby Murry Woods subdivision and have cited concerns about traffic and safety, primarily centered on the proposal to create a new entrance across from Longview Court, which is situated on a curve along Crowfoot Road.

“My concern is that this will increase traffic, people will speed and it will lead to injury,” said Clara Cheng, who lives on Northlawn Circle in Murry Woods. “I know there has been some talk about establishing a school (speed) zone in the area, but I would ask the audience to ask themselves if they’ve really obeyed the school-zone speed limit every time.”

Longview Court is the only entrance and exit from the subdivision.

Traffic concerns have also centered around what would happen in the event of an emergency on the campus, which is accessible only by Sardis and Crowfoot, two single-lane roads.

″(An eight-minute response time) is a huge amount in an emergency, especially when it takes another 15 minutes to get to the hospital in Monroeville,” said resident Russ Phillips. “We need a wider road if this school gets built.”

Following a presentation by Kevin Kaplan, Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority director, residents also expressed concern about the pump station serving the Sloan property, which has had three overflows in the past year.

Kaplan said the line could handle the additional 6,000 gallons per day of flow that the project is expected to generate, and that even with the additional sewage, the past three overflows would likely have happened anyway.

“I’m not an educated woman, and no disrespect to Mr. Kaplan, but that doesn’t make any sense to me,” said resident Kate Manka.

Resident Ed Mittereder agreed.

“Why don’t we worry about getting the sewage system fixed first, before we worry about building a new school?” he asked. “Let’s not put the cart before the horse.”

Kaplan said FTMSA recently took out a $10 million bond and is starting a system-wide flow study to address longstanding overflow issues.

Resident Graeme Eldridge said the sewage solution is an easy one.

“The school district must install cisterns and truck the waste out,” Eldridge said. “That will take the additional load off the pump station.”

Council President Josh Lorenz stressed that some of the issues “that are legitimate and important, and of concern to many will not be discussed at length, because they are simply not what we are charged to do.”

Council must evaluate the project from a land-use standpoint, and act with the health, safety and welfare of residents in mind.

“We just need to understand that some of these issues are not council’s decision,” Lorenz said.

Sloan Elementary was built in 1959 and 1960 (UPDATED 9/7/18: This date was previous listed incorrectly), and last renovated in 1971.

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