8 Miles Per Hour

THE GREAT BENEFIT OF A NEW SCHOOL ON THE MILEGROUND

WV Division of Highways’ consultant on the Mileground expansion, ENTRAN, shows what a new school, Eastwood, would do to traffic on the Mileground during the years prior to the Mileground expansion, dropping Mileground outbound traffic speed in the afternoon from an optimistically figured 14 mph to 8 mph:

ENTRAN reports in “Mileground Road Traffic: Final Report,” February 2011 (bold and italics added):

Several analysis scenarios were created for the purpose of evaluating and comparing the Mileground Corridor alternatives. Two critical time periods on a “typical” day were compared – the average weekday morning and afternoon peak periods or “rush hours.” On Mileground Road, these periods typically occur from 7:00 A.M. until about 9:00 A.M. and from around 2:30P.M. until about 6:00 P.M. Although there are other times (noon, for example) when Mileground Road traffic conditions are congested, these morning and afternoon peaks represent a regularly occurring worst case. Traffic counts for the base year models were collected during the summer of 2010, but these counts were multiplied by an adjustment factor derived from historical data to account for traffic conditions when local schools and WVU are in session.

In other words, the ENTRAN report merely notes the common knowledge of the extraordinary multiple extended congested rush hours on the Mileground. Otherwise, the report can only hypothetically account for the actual traffic count because the actual observational study was done when the schools and universities were not remotely in full session. Maybe that’s why the average speed of 14 miles per hour is so optimistically high. It’s not based on actual observation of the most common conditions.

Notice too that the ENTRAN report says nothing about the virtual gridlock in the half mile between the 705/119 intersection and Woodburn, where Charles and Hampton intersect with 119. ENTRAN was not commissioned to study that section of road, because WV DOH has no known plans to do anything about it.

By WV state law, Mon Schools is bound to WV Policy 6200 (202.06), which prohibits new school sites not “located away from” – among other egregious violations in the immediate area – “congestion.”

Aside from the unlawfulness of the situation, including the health and safety damage and threat to children, what kind of idiocy is involved in siting a school that is monstrously entrapped by congestion for 6 hours or more on a regular day? Does Mon Schools’ Superintendent Frank Devono get paid a huge bonus to waste public funds and waste public facilities like that? Beside being an unlawful reckless menace of a site, it’s profoundly stupid. A stupid waste.

A rush hour forced 6:30 a.m. school start time would have children eating school breakfast in the dark and “lunch” during mid-morning. Meanwhile, accessing the school during the school day or after “regular” school hours, for all types of events, or snow delays, and so on, would be prohibitive…or, at the least, a great waste of time, and harmful to health, especially to the health of the children, ages 3 to 11 in this pre-K through 5th grade facility, the would-be Eastwood Elementary.

Eastwood Elementary on the Mileground: signed, sealed, and still trying to be delivered by Mon Schools Board, consisting of President Barbara Parsons, Vice President Joe Statler, Mike Kelly, Clarence Harvey, and Nancy Walker. Remember those names. Don’t ever vote for them again, if you ever did before.

Oh, and, thanks, WVU administration, for ruthlessly profiting off this debacle and calamity in the making. Good thing (one hopes) that you are starting up that program in Public Health. Maybe you can start making restitution there.

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