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Fairfield Finds Fix for Tomlinson Traffic

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Help is on the way for parents dealing with traffic congestion at Tomlinson Middle School. The Fairfield Public Schools central administration took the first step toward reworking the school’s pickup and drop-off areas. The town hopes to have the problem fixed by next school year.

“I think given the topography … it’s chaotic at best right now,” said Police Chief Gary MacNamara, who heard about the plan with the Police Commission on Wednesday. “This plan at least brings some simple order to it.”

Now, parents can drop their kids at the school in two places. On the north side, cars and buses enter from Unquowa Road, go to their drop-off-areas and leave toward Round Hill Road. The car-only route on the south side goes from the Fairfield train station parking lot, under a viaduct and to the staff parking lot.

The problem is on the north side. Extra buses go to the school because of the redistricting plan approved last fall. When a line of buses is waiting to get into the drop-off area, they have problems crossing a line of parents’ cars going out toward Round Hill Road. The district wants to persuade more parents to use the train station route to ease congestion.

The Police Commission approved a solution Wednesday night. Traffic consultant Michael Galante said the south-side drop off will be expanded slightly, adding two extra parking spaces to the train station lot while widening the roadway leading to the school.

On the north side, the district hopes to expand the Unquowa Road entrance and install a traffic island. It’ll use the extra space to make parent drop-off area separate from the bus loop.

“It will really help with the bus and vehicle traffic,” said Thomas Cullen, the district’s operations director. “We try to separate the two at any school. Unfortunately, we’re not always that lucky.”

The Police Commission’s approval is just the first step. The Plan and Zoning Commission and the Conservation Commission will also have to approve the redesign. Then, the Board of Education, Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting will need to sign off on the funding for the construction. If all goes according to plan, work could start in summer.

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