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Safer Crossing for Students

Potomac Falls High School students have a safer crossing.

A collaborative effort is bringing a halt to students dodging motor vehicles, sometimes unsuccessfully, in the Potomac Falls High School parking lot.

The Parent Teacher Student Organization committee and Supervisor Bruce Tulloch (R-Potomac Falls) have developed solutions to the safety hazard. Principal David Spage said Tuesday that about 500 students drive to school daily while an undetermined number of parents drop off their children. The school has 1,400 students. The conflict involved students getting out of their motor vehicles and walking into the school while parents dropping off their children, tried to avoid hitting the teenagers.

"The parents were playing 'Dodge a Child' in the parking lot," Tulloch said. "And they had some very close calls. I've seen kids bumped."

SPAGE SAID HE was not aware of any cars striking students, but the situation presents a safety issue. "Like any parking lot, there are hundreds of people going in different directions, especially before school," he said. "That was a concern of ours."

Kathy Lague and Nancy Lasik, parents and members of the PTSO, spent several mornings observing the traffic. They joined Assistant Principal John Duellman and former Safety and Security Specialist Don Chambers on a committee looking for a remedy.

Tom Koenig, president of the PTSO, said the committee decided to install about 10 bright yellow, and yellow and black speed bumps about a month ago. He was in the parking lot Tuesday morning and the traffic flow was manageable. "It wasn't bad, but it gets pretty busy 8:30 to quarter of 9," he said.

Spage said the speed bumps slow down motorists, but they drew complaints from the students.

The committee also is considering creating a set traffic pattern, he said. But it would be difficult getting someone in the parking lot every day to monitor it.

TULLOCH APPROACHED Greenvest L.C., which developed Cascades and Lowes Island. "We needed funding to direct traffic away from pedestrians walking up to the school. The PTSO asked me to help find the money. I did, because it was a worthy cause."

Jim Duzynski, CEO for the Tysons Corner-based developer, said his company was glad to help out. He said Tulloch said funding for the project was not available in the county budget. "He was trying to take care of his constituents," he said. "He was willing to go outside the box and draw upon the business community."

Greenvest contributed $2,000. "We were told the intersection was unsafe, and this is a great way for us to contribute to the community," Duzynski said. "It was an easy decision."