GHS Headmaster: Taking away student parking on Hillside Rd does not begin to address congestion

The following letter was sent by Greenwich High School Headmaster Dr. Chris Winters to Hillside Road neighbor Ashley Cole and was submitted as a letter to the editor by Dr. Winters

Dear Ms. Cole,

I have been very consistent with GHS students and in public about my stance on the issue of student parking on Hillside Road.

1) I and our students are sympathetic to the neighbors who live near our school, especially those on Hillside. We have tried to be good neighbors and will continue to try.

2) Student parking on Hillside is NOT the problem. The GHS campus is used seven days a week from early morning until late at night mostly by GHS but also by town and other groups. During morning drop off and after school dismissal, there is a lot of congestion–35 buses and hundreds of cars. It’s a 20-30 period of time each morning and afternoon and as long as the high school is in a neighborhood, there is going to be that level of congestion. Taking away student parking on Hillside does not begin to address the problems.

Many of the issues you raise are not influenced by student parking on Hillside. Parents make illegal maneuvers, they pull into driveways, they double park. They will do this whether there is street parking or not. We work closely with Greenwich Police to enforce rule following. I remind parents frequently of the dangers of letting a child out on the opposite side of the street or pulling a U-turn.

The one issue that you identify that is exacerbated by student street parking is the double parking by parents in the afternoon.

The Greenwich Police Dept has allowed that practice out of sheer practicality. There are not good options for after school pick up.

It takes our staff 15 minutes to exit from the back of the school and very few parents are going to willingly queue up there. While it adds to congestion on the street, it is for a fairly limited amount of time. If there is a better solution for parent pickup, I am open to considering it.

My role with the student petition was to forward to all students the petition created by student leaders. Students do not have an easy means of distributing surveys or petitions. It is completely appropriate for me to help educate students about issues that affect them.

Lastly, I have said several times, if any neighbors have a function that requires more parking than his/her driveway can accommodate, you only need contact me and I will gladly reserve spots for you in one of our lots. We want to be good neighbors.

Thank you,
Chris Winters
GHS Headmaster

See also:  GHS Neighbor: Hillside Road is An Accident Waiting to Happen