The Chukker Creek Elementary School traffic abatement plan got final approval by Aiken City Council Monday night.
The motion to approve it passed unanimously – Councilwoman Lessie Price and Councilman Dick Dewar were not in attendance but were present during the first reading which was unanimously approved Jan. 28.
The plan is to extend the school’s driveway, currently 650 feet in length, by 1,800 feet and add 40 more parking spaces to the school’s property located on Chukker Creek Road.
Currently, the traffic during student drop-off and pick-up is spilling out onto Chukker Creek Road and causing traffic to back up. Some residents who live on or right off of Chukker Creek Road said they have waited in that traffic for up to 45 minutes.
Pick-up, which starts at 2 p.m., 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 Plantation South, according to Civil Engineer Tilden Hilderbrand.
The school has 852 students and only 10 to 15 percent of them use the bus.
Not much discussion occurred Monday evening. Two residents spoke for the proposed plan.
“Thank you for the unanimous approval of the design for the elimination of the back up on Chukker Creek. I find it to be a useful design,” said resident Tony Sealy, who added that the design has been used by other schools and it has helped mitigate their traffic problems.
Another resident said that he’s seen motorists try to pass the line of vehicles on the two-lane road, some ending up in the ditch to avoid oncoming traffic. He stated that he wants something done before a serious accident occurs.
Residents living behind the school in the Woodside neighborhood were concerned with the extended serpentine driveway bringing the line of vehicles closer to their property lines.
Hilderbrand said that the closest the driveway would be to the Eastside property lines would be approximately 36 feet and 42 feet to the Northside property lines.
When viewing the original plan that was proposed to the Planning Commission in early January, those residents were also concerned with the lack of tree buffer between their property and the school.
Hilderbrand changed the plan, which originally showed a 10-foot undisturbed buffer, to reflect one that was 25 feet in depth.