Neighbors sue over new Burlingame school

March 21, 2013 6:33:03 PM PDT
The Peninsula town of Burlingame wants to open a new elementary school, but a group of neighbors is fighting the plan, saying it's not safe for children who want to walk to school.

Hoover Elementary School is scheduled to open in the 2014 academic year, but it's not a done deal. A group calling itself the Alliance for Responsible Neighborhood Planning has filed a lawsuit to stop the opening, saying they want a more thorough traffic impact study.

Hoover Elementary School was built in the 1930s. It shut its doors in the late 70s and eventually became a Buddhist temple. The Burlingame School District bought back the old campus about three years ago.

Dr. Maggie MacIsaac is school superintendent. "We need the space. We are busting out of the seams here in Burlingame. We have so many people moving here," she said.

Summit Drive is the street that fronts Hoover School. It straddles the border of Burlingame and Hillsborough.

A group of neighbors whose homes face the school filed the lawsuit, saying they want a full environmental impact study before the school opens.

Hillsborough residents Joe and Diane Haggerty say they're not against hoover school re-opening. They say they're concerned about the safety of the children who'll walk to school.

"Safety is the absolute issue," said Joe Haggerty. "The three Burlingame roads that lead to the school are very narrow."

"There really is not even one road or street for a kid to walk on safely without being an intolerable danger doing so," Diane Haggerty added.

Not only are the roads leading to the school narrow, there are blind curves on the roads where there are no sidewalks.

"Being an orthopedic surgeon, I've seen horrible things happen to children versus Recology trucks or automobiles going too fast around blind curves," Joe Haggerty said.

Sarah Speron moved into the neighborhood a month ago. She welcomes an elementary school that her two children can walk to but she also feels the roads aren't safe.

"There's a lot of blind spots and areas where it's just a little scary to even be pushing a stroller. You can't see the cars that are coming around," Speron said.

The school district plans to widen the street in front of Hoover to make room for increased traffic, which may amount to several hundred cars a day.

Dr. MacIsaac added that a traffic study the school district commissioned found no safety issues. "They took a look at our drop-off and our pick-up and the roads and analyzed the traffic around the area and felt that we absolutely met all the requirements that we needed to meet and that it was an absolutely safe place for students," she said.

The Burlingame Hills Improvement Association, which represents many of the homeowners on the Burlingame side of the school says it does want Hoover Elementary to reopen, but not before there's a plan to deal with any congestion issues.


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