Prof. Script

Improving Safety at the Mountville Branch Library: A Proposal to Remove Hazardous Parking

Submitted to: The West Hempfield Township Municipal Office

Submitted by: Kristan Knarr

Submitted on: March 24, 2013

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Executive Summary There are six parking spaces at the Mountville Branch Library that, because they create

low visibility for drivers, cause a safety hazard for anyone attempting to pull their car out of the

main lot. Furthermore, due to the school being located next to the library, there are many

children and parents in cars making this dangerous turn. I am proposing that six problematic

parking spots be removed from the lot and that the library and school share parking with a

church located across the street. This proposal represents the best solution to the parking lot

problem because it can be implemented at a low cost to the township and would significantly

improve safety. Also, because the church only operates on Sundays and the school and library

never operate on Sundays, there is no potential for conflict between drivers.

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Problem: Parking at Mountville Branch Library is Hazardous

Despite the growing popularity of e-books, many people, myself included, still rely on

their local libraries to borrow books for learning, entertainment, or a variety of other purposes. I

go to my local library, the Mountville Branch of the Lancaster Library system in Mountville, PA

as frequently as once a week. In June 2011, the Mountville Branch Library moved its location to

a larger building with a better set-up for shelving books. Despite these improvements, there is

one dangerous aspect of the new location that cannot be overlooked: the parking.

There are quite a few parking spots that cause no problems, but there are six spots, as

marked on the attached map, that make turning out of the main parking lot a hazardous situation.

When cars are parked in these spaces, they eliminate all visibility to the left of the driver

attempting to pull out of the library parking lot. This is an especially urgent problem because

Dayspring Christian Academy, a private school for children (grades kindergarten through 12), is

adjacent to the library. Many parents or other family members are in and out of the library

parking lot every weekday to pick up their children from school.

Not only are adult library patrons at risk every time they pull out of the parking lot, some

young children and their parents are forced into this unsafe situation multiple times per week. In

fact, I observed the traffic in and around the library parking lot one day in February 2013 during

peak school release hours. I noted that 113 cars drove past the lot on Clay Street and 62 cars

made the dangerous turn out of the lot onto Clay Street within a 25-minute period, especially

condensed into the last ten minutes of my observation. This was just one day’s worth of

observations, but in reality, the traffic is this bad Monday through Friday, for half an hour in the

morning when students are being dropped off, as well as for half an hour in the afternoon when

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children are being picked up from school. With this many vehicles, especially many containing

young children, in one place in such a short period of time, too many community members are

jeopardizing their safety. I am addressing you, the West Hempfield Township Municipal Office,

to bring attention to this problem and to offer a solution in the hopes that this parking problem

can be fixed as soon as possible.

Solution: Remove Spots and Direct Traffic to Church Parking Lot

There are many possible solutions that you could consider to fix this dangerous parking

problem. The empty area to the right of the library could be altered to expand the library’s main

parking lot, but having the grassy area dug up and paved could cost more money than you, the

township, would like to spend. Another solution could be to place a stop sign on Clay Street so

vehicles are forced to stop and make sure no one is attempting to pull out of the library parking

lot at the same time. But with so much traffic on Clay Street, this would slow everyone down and

irritate drivers. Because each of these solutions has a major downside, I am proposing the best

possible solution—eliminate the six problematic parking spaces and consult the Mountville

Church of the Brethren, which is across the street from the Mountville Branch Library, to share

parking spaces.

Short-Term Plan

To eliminate the problematic parking spots, you could start with a short-term plan if

necessary and then work on a long-term solution when able. For the short-term, a “no parking”

sign would need to be put into the ground next to where the problematic parking spaces currently

exist. There are a variety of ways to remove the painted lines at varying costs, but the quickest

short-term fix would be to place a several large orange traffic cones where the problematic

parking spaces currently are to ensure that no one parks there. Then, it would be best for you, as

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well as the leaders of the Mountville Church of the Brethren, the Mountville Branch Library, and

the Dayspring Christian Academy to meet and come up with an agreement to share parking lots.

Long-Term Plan

The long-term plan would still involve purchasing a “no parking sign” and consulting

with the Mountville Church of the Brethren to share parking with the surrounding buildings, but

when it fits into the township’s budget, the painted lines should be removed. There are many

paving companies that are willing to remove parking space lines. The business located closest to

Mountville is Axtell’s in Lancaster. Axtell’s could remove the few lines for a reasonable price.

Eventually removing the painted lines is necessary so that no one mistakes the area for a proper

parking zone.

Explanation of Reasons

Sharing parking with the Mountville Church of the Brethren is the best option for many

reasons. First, the church has a very large parking lot, which includes nearly one hundred parking

spaces. This would give community members using the library, as well as the parents and

guardians of students at Dayspring Christian Academy a place to park when the main library lot

is full. If overflow parking was made available, library patrons and parents would have a

guaranteed place to park and no one would have to worry about making that risky turn out of the

library lot. Additionally, since there are very few problematic parking spots to begin with,

removing them is unlikely to have a detrimental effect on community members.

Furthermore, the Mountville Branch Library’s hours and Dayspring Christian Academy’s

hours never overlap with the Mountville Church of the Brethren’s hours. Mountville Church of

the Brethren has church services every Sunday morning and all summer they have lawn concerts

nearly every Sunday evening. According to their website, these are the only services and events

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held at the church (Mountville Church 2013). The Mountville Branch Library is only open

Monday through Saturday (Mountville Branch 2012) and Dayspring Christian Academy has no

events that occur on any given Sunday (Calendar of Events 2013). This means that if library

users and the parents or families of Dayspring Christian Academy students needed to use the

church parking lot as overflow parking, they would never be taking away parking spots that are

intended for churchgoers. When I observed the traffic in and around the library parking lot, I

noticed that the church parking lot was completely empty so it would be extremely beneficial to

take advantage of those parking spots.

Cost

At this point, you must be questioning how much this could all cost. First, a state and

federally approved “no parking” sign with custom writing directing traffic to the church parking

lot can be purchased for only $33.00 (USA No Parking 2013) if you do not have a cheaper way

to obtain a similar sign. For the short-term solution, you may have access to traffic cones as

township leaders, but if not, they can be purchased from our local Lowe’s for less than $20 each

(Jackson Safety).

For the long-term solution, you would have to get an actual quote from a paving company

for permanent removal of the lines, but it appears that it would cost under $200 because there are

so few lines to remove.

Also, since the library and church are both non-profit organizations, I am sure that they

would be willing to share their parking lots at no cost at all. Overall, this is a much cheaper

option than digging up ground, paving, and painting in new parking spots in the empty part of

the lot and it would not clog traffic like adding a stop sign would do. Also, if you compare the

cost of removing six parking spaces and having community members park across the street, it

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unmistakably outweighs the potential damage or injury that could be done to vehicles or

community members if an accident, or several, were to occur.

Safety

As township leaders concerned with the well-being of community members, you may

also be questioning the safety of having children walk across a busy Clay Street every day to get

to their parents’ cars if they are parked in the church lot. First, my observations showed that the

parents of children younger than teenagers all walked to Dayspring Christian Academy’s door to

meet their child and then walk to their car. Secondly, there are already crosswalks painted on the

ground from the library parking lot to the church parking lot. Considering these two facts,

parents and children would always have a safe way to get across Clay Street and to get to their

cars if the parent was parked in the church lot. In addition, with the problematic parking

removed, the parents and children wanting to cross Clay Street would have better visibility and

could see any cars headed their way and could more easily avoid them. It is hard to see any

downside to eliminating the problematic parking and to confer with the Mountville Church of the

Brethren about sharing parking spaces with the Mountville Branch Library.

The elimination of six simple parking spaces may seem trivial but failure to remove them

could prove to be injurious or even fatal to community members. It is unquestionably more

appropriate to fix this problem now before anything tragic occurs, especially considering how

this is a problem that would be relatively effortless to address and resolve.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the problematic parking spaces at the Mountville Branch Library present a

safety hazard, in the form of low visibility, every time anyone attempts to pull out of the parking

lot. Based on my research and observations, the best way to preserve the health and safety of

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library patrons, parents, families, and students associated with Dayspring Christian Academy, as

well as anyone simply driving down Clay Street is to remove those six spots entirely and work

with the Mountville Church of the Brethren to come up with an arrangement to share parking

lots. This issue must be addressed and resolved promptly before anything life-threatening has the

opportunity to occur. I know that you are concerned about the safety of our community members

and I hope that you seriously consider my proposed solution.

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Works Cited

“Calendar of Events.” Dayspring Christian Academy. Dayspring Christian Academy, n.d. Web.

15 March 2013.

“Jackson Safety Brand 28” Reflexite Orange Cone.” Lowe’s. Lowe’s, n.d. Web. 18 March 2013.

“Mountville Branch.” Lancaster Public Library, Lancaster Public Library, n.d. Web. 20 March

2013.

“Mountville Church of the Brethren: Welcome!” Mountville Church of the Brethren. Mountville

Church of the Brethren, n.d. Web. 20 March 2013.

“USA No Parking Signs.” USA Traffic Signs. USA Traffic Signs, n.d.. Web. 20 March 2013.