By Sue Botos
For a number of years, Rocky River Public Library administrators have looked for a way to make the facility’s parking lot safer, especially at the beginning and end of daily classes at the neighboring Rocky River Middle School. Now, they hope they have a lock on the problem
According to library Director Nick Cronin, an extension of the wrought iron fence bordering the western edge of the library’s parking area is planned to run the entire length of library property. Currently, the fence ends at a walkway connecting the middle school and library parking lots. Cronin added that there will be a gate installed in the fence allowing pedestrian traffic through the walkway, except at the beginning and at the end of the school day, when it will be locked.
The plan is the latest attempt by the library to discourage parents and other drivers from using the library parking lot as a student drop-off and pickup spot.
“Regardless of our signage and attempts over the years, a small number of parents still use the area as a drop-off and pickup zone,” Cronin said recently as he pointed out the area in question to a visitor. He explained that signs directing cars to the middle school lot have been ignored, and traffic cones placed in the area have been moved by drivers. Even a police presence was only a temporary fix. “The police can’t be there all of the time. As soon as they go, the behavior resumes.”
Even the fact that the spot has been a fire lane since 2010 has not been a deterrent.
The effects of this, according to Cronin, pose an inconvenience and a danger to those using the library lot. He said cars idling near the fence block incoming traffic as well as vehicles parked in spaces at the far western end of the lot.
He added that those stopping parallel with the curb pose enough trouble, but drivers who park facing the fence are especially dangerous, due to blind spots and pedestrian traffic. “They have to reverse to continue out to Riverview,” Cronin said. He added that late last year, a library staff member was almost hit by a parent as she walked from her car in the employee parking area, which borders the western edge of library property.
Early this year, Cronin said a child was almost hit crossing the lot from the middle school by a parent who did not see the child behind the car.
“We decided to find a solution,” Cronin continued, adding that any plans for the fence will remain flexible due to the Hampton Road sewer project, which is under way and will continue beyond the opening of school in August.
The plan, according to Cronin, is to install the fence and gate during the summer, then go with the flow of the sewer work. “We may have to see how the sewer project is working. We may not use the gate until it is done,” he stated.
Cronin added that the library will be accessible at all times during the sewer work, although alternatives for the book drop may have to be used at some point. He said these details are still being discussed by the library board.
Eventually, Cronin said, the proposed gate is to be unlocked most of the time, except for about an hour before school starts and again at dismissal time. He added that the gate will also be locked after the library closes at night.
The $4,990 project, according to Cronin, will be funded by the Nyland Bequest, which was granted to the library in 1996. Although the school board controls the library budget, Cronin said the board’s approval is not needed because the work will be done on library property and privately funded.
School board President Jon Fancher commented, “The board members have different feelings about this, but we have not taken positions.”