One of the most worrisome aspects about this proposal is the additional car trips the school would add given its proposed location. This planned for-profit, 735-student charter school does not provide bus service for its students, and it expects to serve mainly students outside of our local school district. In addition, there is no public transportation on this stretch of Homestead Road.
As a result, the proposed school would pose severe traffic problems for area residents and commuting high-school students and parents. Adding 735 students who are carried in cars by parents, living likely beyond our local school district, would clog this narrow, curving two-lane road already made congested by Seawell Elementary School, Smith Middle School and Chapel Hill High School, among our district’s most heavily enrolled schools. Homestead Road serves a day-care center in Winmore, the Senior Center and a community pool.
Parents bringing students to this proposed for-profit charter school would add tremendously to the congestion at drop-off and pick-up times especially. The developer proposes to widen Homestead along the school frontage so cars can be stacked, but this does nothing for traffic on the rest of Homestead Road, which is not planned to be widened. Although officials of the proposed school have consented to change slightly the school’s opening and ending times, it is hard to imagine there won’t be even more traffic delays than already exist. Traffic already cuts through nearby neighborhoods. Imagine these neighborhood’s burden if the plan were to be approved.
Imagine trying to turn out of the already existing Claremont neighborhood across the street, or even into or out of the proposed for-profit school. Imagine a road that most likely will remain with a 45-mph speed limit. Imagine as a solution a traffic light or a roundabout, but no pedestrian refuge. Imagine delays affecting the schedules of parents, students and commuters.
This proposed for-profit, 735-student charter school is planned to be built for its entire length right up against Homestead Road. This adds even more significant pedestrian-safety issues with children so close to the busy road. There are concerns about teenage drivers plying Homestead Road where there is a curve and hill in the approach to the planned school. The sight lines are poor at best.
Such an awkward location should never be approved by the Town of Carrboro as a place for a school.