Do’s and Dont’s for Parents as Police Continue Traffic Enforcement at GHS

Update, Thursday, March 2, 2017. At Thursday’s police briefing, Lt. Slusarz clarified a few questions that arose from the original story on Wednesday’s traffic enforcement at GHS.

Lt Slusarz said that again on Thursday morning, drivers were ticketed, mostly for distracted driving.

“We had four officers there today, giving our summonses. People were dropping off kids while cops were writing up the previous violation,” he said. “They could hardly keep up.”

He pointed out that when a passenger exits on the east side of Hillside road, that is a violation not only for the driver, but for the pedestrian who crosses in the middle of the block.

Slusarz said that it is legal for parents to pull over into one of the city bus stops on East Putnam Ave to let off their children. “As long as there not a bus stopped there or about to stop,” he said. “And as long as the student then walks to the cross walk.”

There is a city bus stop on both the north and south side of East Putnam Avenue.

Slusarz said it is also legal for a passenger to exit a vehicle when the driver is stopped at a red light, as long as there is a sidewalk to step onto.

Asked whether it was legal for cars to double-park along on Hillside at pick up time, Slusarz that the police officer assigned to the High School is responsible to assure buses exit without delay.

“It is not that we are condoning double parking,” he said. “With the exception of an emergency, if he deviates from that assignment, things fall apart quickly.”

Slusarz said that this week’s enforcement has been in the works for some time, and will continue sporadically throughout March.

Original Story, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Everyone with a student at Greenwich High School learns quickly that pick-up and drop-off are fraught with traffic that snarls quickly.

On Wednesday, Greenwich Police conducted traffic enforcement on Hillside Rd during drop-off. Several parents were ticketed.

Greenwich Police Dept Lt. John Slusarz said there were multiple warnings issued, and some tickets given out for the most egregious behaviors.

“We had some people stopped and other cars pulled right up to the police officer and were doing what the person pulled over did, plus something else, like talking on their cell phone,” he said. Tickets were issued for those with multiple violations.

Lt Slusarz said the right side of the road is posted ‘No stopping, No discharge of passengers,’ and that to do otherwise is a violation of CT General Statute 14-298.

In an email, headmaster Dr. Winters said that Greenwich Police are aware of driving practices during drop-off that put students at risk and that periodically, Greenwich Police come to GHS and actively enforce the rules.

“This was the case this morning,” he said of Wednesday’s enforcement effort, adding that parents had been informed of the proper drop off procedures and warned not to drop off in driveways or pull U-turns on Hillside Road.

Dr. Winters said that with 3,000 students and staff coming to the neighborhood school each day, measures have to be taken ensure that all arrive safely.

GHS Compass yearbook 1970 shows the bike racks overflowing.

GHS Compass yearbook 1970 shows the bike racks overflowing.

Lieutenant Slusarz said that when Greenwich High School was built, the current volume of traffic during drop-off and pick-up was not anticipated.

“A lot of parents drive their children to school,” Slusarz said. “Not just Greenwich High School, but almost all the schools in town.”

He said complaints have been received about driver behavior, including speeding and blind U-turns on Hillside Rd. Also, he said there were complaints about people dropping children on the east side of the road, necessitating that students run from east to west mid block.

Slusarz said enforcement officers head to Hillside Road occasionally, including at the beginning of school year, when they attempt to train parents that they can’t drop students on east side of the road.

Traffic backed up onto East Putnam Avenue during drop off at Greenwich High School. Photo: Leslie Yager

Traffic backed up onto East Putnam Avenue during drop off at Greenwich High School. Photo: Leslie Yager

“We get them into the habit of dropping off in the loop and discourage the blind U-turns,” he said.

While there was an accident many years ago, fortunately, no students have been hit or injured on Hillside Rd in recent times.

“Going forward during this enforcement period, we’ll issue more summonses,” he said. “We’re not there to punish people, we just don’t want them to endanger the children.”

Slusarz suggested parents adjust their schedules and demonstrate good time management to their children.

Traffic backs up on Putnam Avenue during drop off at Greenwich High School. Photo: Leslie Yager

Traffic backs up on Putnam Avenue during drop off at Greenwich High School. Photo: Leslie Yager

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