Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Preschool Raises Traffic Concerns Again

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Preschool Raises Traffic Concerns Again

Article excerpt

A rezoning request that would allow a four-classroom pre-kindergarten program to be built at St. Joseph's Catholic Church was deferred again Thursday before the Jacksonville Planning Commission as neighbors and church officials hash out concerns over the 100-student program.

The church needs a rezoning to build the school on Loretto Road next to its cemetery. But neighbors in Clearwater Oaks, just west of the proposed site, are wondering what impact the parents of 100 students will have on Loretto Road, which a city road survey says is 10 percent over capacity and already filled with morning traffic from three other schools nearby.

The neighbors want the school entrance located around the corner, off Hood Landing Road, while the church has offered to move it to the St. Augustine Road side of its massive property, and close off two Loretto Road exit driveways until 9 a.m.

During a Jan. 23 meeting between both sides at City Hall, City Councilwoman Mary Ann Southwell said the church plan, which would allow parents to use Loretto Road to exit after 9 a.m. or return to St. Augustine Road or Hood Landing roads, has merit.

"This isn't the final answer, but preliminary discussions are that they agreed to limit the driveways on Loretto Road to right turn-only out during the morning hours when the traffic is so stacked . . .," Southwell said. "In the later afternoon when the kids get out of school traffic is not much of an issue."

But Clearwater Oaks resident Mike Kennedy, who was at the meeting, said he doesn't agree with the proposal just yet. He points to morning traffic from the Catholic church's existing 620-student K-8 school across Loretto Road and the Promise Land Academy and Loretto Elementary School to the west. Besides, city traffic surveys also show St. Augustine Road to be 34 percent over capacity. …

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