September 21, 2006

UPDATE: St. Thomas More - Intersection of Faith & Fordham

I read in the Orange Herald today that there was a discussion about the traffic problems caused/related-to St. Thomas More. As anyone who lives in Chapel Hill knows, events at the church cause a huge congestion on the surrounding roads as people try to get in and out of the "grounds". An interesting aside, I had no idea that the St. Thomas More site was 20.5 acres, so I googled it.

Wow, that is big. I'm not sure of the boundaries, maybe I can find a map later on the town site.

Anyway, the problem is:

The concept plan before the Town Council from St. Thomas More calls for a new Parish Center, gymnasium, library, classrooms, art and music building and athletic field.
Add that traffic to the traffic already there and Bam! you've got a problem. Okay, you already have a problem, but you have a BIGGER problem. While I think there are solutions, I have another question. Most Sundays and at least some other days (I'm not there when their school lets out) I see local police parked at the intersections manually running the traffic signals to ease the traffic congestion. On one hand, the traffic congestion is a "danger". On the other hand, I would imagine that it wouldn't interfere with 15/501 traffic if the signals were run as usual. It is the people leaving the church that would have long waits. Does that mean the town is paying its police officers to sit there for hours each week and operate a traffic signal so the church can empty out quicker?

Thanks to the fast footwork & phonework of Citizen Will and the CH staff.

From: Gregg Jarvies
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2006 9:20 AM
To: Roger Stancil
Cc: Carol Abernethy
Subject: RE: St Thomas More School

We do not provide officers to direct traffic on school days at St. Thomas More except for one or two days per year when a special event takes place. On Sundays officers are hired by the church to direct traffic. Our policy stipulates that any officer providing police services to a non-Town organization or for a function not sponsored by the Town must be hired by the organization through the police department, must be paid by the organization, and such work must be performed by the officer while he or she is in an off-duty status.
Officers working off-duty for non-Town functions are paid directly by the organization, not through Town payroll.

Well, of course the Chapel Hill Police handle this professionally. There is a reason we pay them so well, it keeps up retention, which means we have a very seasoned and professional force Serving & Protecting.

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