Aiken City Council will consider a proposal of a plan to alleviate traffic congestion on Chukker Creek Road when parents drop off or pick up their children from school.
Council will conduct its first reading of a possible amendment to a concept plan for Chukker Creek Elementary School, located at 1830 Chukker Creek Road, that would permit an 1,800-foot extension of the school’s driveway, allowing for two lanes.
The hope is that the extension would allow more vehicles to pull into the school’s drop-off area rather than spilling out onto Chukker Creek Road. An additional 40 parking spaces is also part of that amendment.
The S.C. Department of Transportation has approved this plan by the Aiken County School District to fix the problem.
The Planning Commission unanimously recommended the approval of this amendment earlier this month.
Many residents who live around the school were at that meeting to discuss their concerns about both the safety of the children and themselves.
At about 7 a.m., when parents are dropping off their children, and 2 p.m., when school is let out, traffic has been known to back up all the way to Whiskey Road. Some motorists sit in traffic for up to 45 minutes.
Concern about emergency vehicles not getting through the traffic if something were to occur during those times was also expressed.
The school has 852 students with about only 10 to 15 percent of them using the bus. The school currently has 650 feet of driveway for drop-offs and pick-ups, according to Civil Engineer Tilden Hilderbrand.
During pick-up, which is said to be the peak traffic time, approximately 1,800 feet of cars have been seen parked on Chukker Creek Road toward Whiskey Road and approximately 500 feet toward Woodside Plantation South, Hilderbrand said.
Some felt the plan wasn’t going to meet long-term traffic needs, stating they feel the area around the school will continue to grow in population which means the traffic probably will, too.
Another resident and retired architect, Philip Winsor, who resides at the back of the school’s property, said at the meeting and in a letter to the City that he’s worried about the impact that this will have on his neighborhood.
After seeing the concept plan, he’s concerned with the removal of trees that buffer his home and others from the sounds and sights of Chukker Creek as well as the fumes emitting from idling engines. Winsor is also uncomfortable with how close the vehicles lining up in the extended driveway will be to the properties behind the school if the plan goes through.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, which is upstairs in the Municipal Building, 214 Park Ave. S.W.