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F-M hopes to alleviate traffic problems with new high school parking lot design

The new F-M district office parking lot will be ready for traffic for the first week of school. The lot has separate sections for district office staff and high school staff and student drop-off.

The new F-M district office parking lot will be ready for traffic for the first week of school. The lot has separate sections for district office staff and high school staff and student drop-off. Allie Wenner

— Despite the fact that most students were off campus, the Fayetteville- Manlius High School grounds were busier than usual this summer. Construction crews were working hard over the past couple months to expand the district office parking lot, located on Route 173, next to the high school. 80 spaces were added and a longer student drop-off lane was created for student safety and as a way to relive the traffic backups that occur on 173 during the morning hours.

“Walkers used to have to walk through a very busy intersection, but now we have a safe walkway for students to walk all the way into school,” said Assistant Superintendent Mike Vespi. “We’ve got about triple the sidewalk space, right next to a designated area for cars to drop students off. There’s also a sidewalk in the middle for high school staff who park here. And the staff who work in the district office have their own self-contained parking lot.”

The entrance to the parking lot was also moved about 200 feet and is now located directly across from Northgate Drive, a road that connects the Academy Hill neighborhood to 173. People who live in Academy Hill have had a hard time getting out of the neighborhood due to traffic backups on 173 between 7 and 7:40 a.m., when parents drop off their children for school. Vespi said that the larger parking lot will be able to hold more cars, which means less cars will be waiting to turn into the lot from 173. And he’d like to get a stop sign or traffic light for walkers who cross at the intersection, but said that the problem is not something the district can fix.

“It’s not my call – this is a state road,” he said. “It’s not like that now that we’ve done the parking lot, there are going to more people that are going to use it. The same cars that were on the road before are going to be here again, and people are concerned about students trying to get across the road. Traffic is supposed to stop there, but that’s something that the state would have to look at.”

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