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AASD traffic flow must be addressed

It is time to rework traffic patterns permanently around the expanding Altoona Area High School complex, the senior and junior high, to create a safer and more secure campus for students and school personnel, and to improve traffic flow.

The school buildings are already sprawled across several blocks.

The campus has grown to include the Altoona Vocational Technical School, the Altoona Area Public Library, the practice football field and numerous parking lots along the 17th street perimeter, the special education offices, and stretching even further to the newly-acquired Investment Savings Bank building on 12th Street, earmarked for AASD administrative offices.

Two of Altoona’s main arteries and most heavily traveled streets, 6th and 7th avenues, run directly through the school campus. The new addition sits right on 7th Avenue, with very little setback, in the midst of constant traffic and noise.

Vehicle and pedestrian traffic is controlled by crossing guards at multiple school entrances only during student arrival and departure. The logjam created at these times is only surpassed by the racetrack atmosphere at other hours of the day and night.

The entire campus should be closed to general traffic, with access limited to vehicles on school district business.

The expanse of educational buildings is an impressive community asset, situated along the 17th Street gateway into the city. Doesn’t it make sense to unify this campus, rather than dividing the individual parts of the complex by busy streets?

Secure the perimeters, and create a true campus, where thousands of students, teachers and staff gather daily.

Creating a self-contained educational complex with controlled vehicle access would enhance safety for all students and school personnel, increase security, and at the same time, improve traffic flow by redirecting all non-school related vehicles onto another route.

With all the planning done for the new building project, was improved security and traffic flow ever part of the conversation?

This community educational complex is a destination, not a drive-by.

Barbara Kooman

Altoona

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