By Kevin Kelley
West 208th is a one-way street between Lorain Road and Westwood Avenue. But that will change Feb. 4.
The street’s one-way status dates to the time when Garnett Primary School once stood on the street, near its T-intersection with Westwood Avenue. Police Chief Patrick Nealon said the northbound one-way traffic made things easier for bus drivers and parents who dropped off and picked up children from the school.
“That’s a relatively narrow street,” Nealon said of West 208th Street. St. Angela Merici Parish School is on the block to the west of West 208th as well, the police chief noted. Even with the one-way traffic, the area could become congested at the beginning or end of a school day, he said.
Garnett Primary School, which housed classes for students in grades one through three, was closed in June 2007 and demolished later that year. That fall, primary grade students began attending classes at the new Gilles-Sweet School on West 220th Street.
The Fairview Park City Schools transferred ownership of the property to the city, which in turn sold it to O’Neill Management. The owner of Bradley Bay Health Center in Bay Village and Wellington Place in North Olmsted, O’Neill Management is proceeding with plans to construct an assisted living/nursing home facility on the site. Groundbreaking is set for March, according to city officials.
The change to two-way traffic will be easier for construction vehicles once work begins on the nursing home facility, Nealon said.
“We’re saving the neighborhood from some of the construction traffic,” he said.
Fairview Park development Director Jim Kennedy told West Life O’Neill Management did not specifically request the change to two-way traffic; however, the change makes sense for a number of reasons, he said.
“It was done to facilitate traffic in a variety of ways and to keep traffic of all kinds out of the neighborhoods as much as possible,” Kennedy explained. “Most importantly, it was done to facilitate emergency ambulance service from the nursing home to Fairview Hospital. Leaving the south end a one-way street would have required these vehicles to expend extra time in transport driving around this obstacle when time is many times of the essence in medical emergencies. And the likelihood is this new facility will require this kind of service more often than a typical residential area.”
No legislation is required to approve the traffic change, the police chief said. Mayor Eileen Patton, under her title as safety director, has the authority to post traffic signs and control traffic as deemed necessary, Nealon explained.