By Tessa Raebeck
The Sag Harbor Village Police Department and administrators at Pierson Middle-High School have teamed together to address the pick-up and drop-off problems at the school and, after years of confusion, congestion and concerns over safety, administrators say the issue has been resolved.
“Things are going—I think they’re going much better,” Pierson Principal Jeff Nichols said Wednesday.
Parents contacted The Sag Harbor Express in January voicing fears that the lack of organization on the Division Street side of Pierson Middle-High School during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up of students, with the haphazard movement of children and cars, would result in an inevitable accident.
In March, the Board of Education hosted a traffic safety workshop, inviting community members, village officials and Police Chief Tom Fabiano to brainstorm a collaborative solution.
At that meeting, Chief Fabiano said he would have to discuss the possibility of adding a village crossing guard with the village board in September. It appears, however, that process was expedited, as the village has appointed Kathy Carlozzi to monitor the situation.
Ms. Carlozzi is present along the entrance to the Division Street parking lot from 7 to 7:30 a.m. and from roughly 2:10 to 2:35 p.m., according to Mr. Nichols.
In the morning, two members of Pierson’s custodial department are stationed along the bus drop-off zone on Division Street from 7 to 7:30 a.m.
School security guard John Ali, formerly the only person officially manning drop-off and pick-up, remains in the Division Street lot “moving traffic along in there as he always has,” Mr. Nichols said.
On the opposite side of the school at the Jermain Street lot, Steve McLoughlin, the security guard from Sag Harbor Elementary School, is stationed facilitating drop-off from 7 to 7:35 a.m.
Mr. Nichols said roughly between 25 and 35 vehicles utilize that side of the building and a monitor supervises the Jermain Street entrance between 7 and 7:30 a.m., after which it is locked.
For those who park along Montauk Avenue, the school has opened up that back entrance, which allows students to enter through the cafeteria. It is supervised by the cafeteria staff between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and likewise locked afterwards, with the primary entrance on Division Street being the only accessible way to enter the school during the day.
“I think probably the biggest help,” Mr. Nichols said, “has been discouraging a left hand turn into the Division lot. And that’s been done by Kathy Carlozzi putting cones out and not allowing people to make that left hand turn.”
“So, doing that has encouraged a one-way flow of traffic, which has encouraged parents to utilize the bus drop-off zone after the buses leave,” he added.
“Any time you add Kathy Carlozzi to the mix, the situation always gets better,” said Robbie Vorhaus, a parent in the district.
“There are lots of things to do, but I certainly feel grateful to the school and to the police for taking a step in the right direction,” he added.