State College

State College Area School District begins traffic count near high school

Brent Detter, with ELA Group, uses a device to count traffic along Westerly Parkway on Tuesday. One of the first steps in the State College Area High School renovation project is to conduct a traffic survey.
Brent Detter, with ELA Group, uses a device to count traffic along Westerly Parkway on Tuesday. One of the first steps in the State College Area High School renovation project is to conduct a traffic survey. CDT photos

Old-school techniques will help determine whether the State High project’s core team will pursue bending Plaza Drive to line up with O’Bryan Lane to create a four-way intersection.

Workers began to conduct a traffic count Tuesday at the intersection of O’Bryan and Westerly Parkway and the intersection of Plaza and Westerly.

Ed Poprik, State College Area School District’s director of physical plant, said they’ve taken an old-school approach to the count by tallying traffic behaviors on clipboard sheets.

Information compiled through Thursday will be presented to the school board at its Sept. 22 meeting, and the board is scheduled to vote Oct. 13 on whether a new Plaza Drive with the borough.

Board president Penni Fishbaine said she is excited to have the project team become a presence in the community.

“I think everyone in the community that has been paying attention to the development of the State High project is excited to see them working out there, because it has been a long road to get here,” Fishbaine said.

She said the board also is eager to collaborate with the borough and other municipalities to improve traffic flow at the high school, taking into account the traffic study for the safety reasons and to alleviate congestion during school hours.

“Hopefully, as we move along, this will help solve some of our issues,” Fishbaine said

The traffic counts take place from 7 to 9 a.m. and 2 to 6 p.m., during the peak school-traffic hours.

Poprik said traffic count information won’t be immediately available as data needs to be compiled and analyzed.

The core project team also will compile information to determine the cost of rerouting Plaza Drive to O’Bryan Lane.

“We’re basically compiling information to see if eliminating the existing Plaza Drive and bending it to O’Bryan Lane is viable,” Poprik said.

Poprik said the compiled data would likely confirm the belief that two traffic-signal intersections — at the existing Plaza and at O’Bryan — would not be viable.

“At this point we believe that we couldn’t have two traffic lights that close together based on the amount of traffic that flows through there,” Poprik said.

“We still have kids that walk to school, and if they’re crossing the street it’s always preferable that they cross at a traffic light,” Poprik said. “It makes it safer.”

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