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Police Chief finds traffic backups at GES unavoidable

November 19, 2020
According to the police chief, traffic backups in front of Gilford Elementary School during dismissal appear to be a short window of time where a long line of parents will line up to pick up their children.

During the previous selectmen's meeting, Selectman Kevin Hayes shared concerns about traffic backups on Belknap Mountain Road in front of GES around 3 p.m. Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee looked into the matter and reported on his findings at the Nov. 4 meeting.

Currently, parents have to pick up their children in the school parking lot and can't park around the street to do so. Bean Burpee said he observed that parents will generally come up Alvah Wilson and line in front of Pine Grove Cemetery to make a right turn into the parking lot. After going through the loop to pick up their kids, they will exit by the staff parking lot. The majority of cars will make a right turn on Belknap Mountain Road. He said there are exceedingly few cars that will make a left on that road toward Alvah Wilson and the majority will do only right turns.

Bean Burpee said the biggest issue seems to be how the elementary school and kindergarten get out at the same time so parents will be going into the lot at the other end by the Imagination Station at the same time as parents are coming into the elementary school.

"The only time we're having any congestion is between 2:50 and 3:08, it's an 18 minute window; that's when releasing time is and the parents are on this cycle," Bean Burpee said,

He said parents will keep in an organized line to pick up children, but for anyone else coming down that road at that exact time it can force them to go into the oncoming lane to avoid the line.

Bean Burpee said this is all happening in such a small window of time, and there is really nothing the police can do about it. He said the school works closely with the police on traffic and have been working toward a quick and organized pick-up process.

Hayes said he was satisfied with the answer.

"If you and the fire chief are happy, I'll allow it," Hayes said.

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