Planning Board picks up Legacy Farms North school bus issue

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While Legacy Farms continues to add homes and families, the main road through the north side of the development remains a private way and is scheduled to remain so until the development is closer to completion. As such, the town’s school buses will not drive on it, so students (and parents in cars) have been gathering at the edge of the development, at the intersection of Legacy Farms Road North and Frankland Road, for their ride to school.

This has created traffic and safety issues, which a group of residents recently brought up to the Select Board. The Planning Board took up the issue at its July 22 meeting, with input from Select Board member John Coutinho.

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Coutinho said a police officer was on site at least once per day the final month of the past school year to monitor traffic and warn speeders. He also reported that the developer has considered enlisting a private bus to either take students to the bus stop or all the way to school. It was suggested that residents could work on their own to create carpools.

“The developer has been very cooperative in this, saying that they wanted to be part of [the solution],” Coutinho said. “But then again, as well all know, the town, we’re supposed to get our children to the schools. And they really only have to get to Frankland Road, as far as carpooling.”

Said Planning Board chair Muriel Kramer: “It’s not a solution to carpool to Frankland Road. It’s not. It’s frankly not. It is so unsafe at that corner, standing there watching it. The only solution is to carpool to the schools, and I don’t disagree that that is potentially [a temporary solution]. This is my perspective.”

As of April there were 118 students in the development, including 41 who attended Marathon School (kindergarten/first grade), and there were three pickups and three drop-offs each day.

There was general consensus that the best solution would be to accept the road as public with conditions, although that would require a recommendation from multiple boards and then approval by a Special Town Meeting. The Planning Board made plans to reach out to the Department of Public Works to see if that would be feasible before moving forward.

“I am a proponent of exploring this idea of accepting the road for sure,” Kramer said. “I don’t necessarily know that it is the best solution or even a solution, so I want to encourage us all to be open to whatever the feedback is from the professional staff [DPW] as to what the best plan is going forward to tackle this.

“So it seems like the thinking to me, it’s constructive thinking to find a way to accept the road and solve the problem that way. In many ways it seems like the neatest, quickest, most permanent solution. But I think the best way forward is to engage the professional staff to come up with short-term, interim, long-term ideas, solutions in the pathway that makes the best sense forward. It may not be accepting the road on an accelerated path, it may be something else.”