Beyond the hallowed halls
At a March 5 London Grove Township Board of Supervisors meeting, several residents of the Heather Grove development expressed their displeasure in waking up every school morning to see their cul-de-sacs, streets and in some cases, front yards, filled with vehicles owned by Avon Grove High School students, parked haphazardly in jagged rows.
They told the supervisors that this has been occurring in their neighborhoods for quite some time, and despite repeatedly asking students to park elsewhere, they have been ignored. One resident revealed that he had recently been threatened by a student for asking the student to park elsewhere. Another said that he had seen a student's vehicle run over a mailbox. A recent visit to Heather Grove by a Chester County Press reporter revealed clear evidence of the residents' concerns.
This problem, as shared at the board meeting, isn't just confined to Heather Grove; it's happening on the other side of State Street on and around Meadow Woods Lane near the Avon Grove Charter School, where students parking and parental pick-up and drop-off creates a bottleneck of traffic.
The board voted overwhelmingly to have a traffic study of these areas done by the township engineer, and a report – and possible solution – is expected to be forthcoming.
The parking dilemmas at Heather Grove and Meadow Woods Lane may be quite similar, but the reactions by school administrators – and their approach to solving the problem – are shockingly different.
At AGCS, head-of-school Dr. Kevin Brady recently sent a letter to all parents and students saying that anyone parking on Meadow Woods Lane will run the risk of having their vehicle towed. Further, in a conversation with the Chester County Press, he assumed responsibility for the mess, and said that the school will be looking to expand their parking lot in the coming months.
Not so down the street. A conversation with a high-ranking administrator at Avon Grove High School indicated there is no problem. Apparently, the school is not aware that a daily logjam of student-owned vehicles parked at Heather Grove is causing its residents any inconvenience. Further, and even worse, the administrator chose not to publicly comment on the issue, simply because she wasn't aware that a problem existed.
Ignorance of an issue is one thing, but ignorance of an issue that is happening just beyond the walls of one's place of employment is inexcusable.
This newspaper chooses to bring this issue to light, not so much to finger-point as to merely state the problem and allow the high school to become part of the solution. We recommend that the administration at Avon Grove High School investigate the parking problem in Heather Grove, meet with concerned residents, enforce parking regulations to all of its students, inform its students that off-campus parking in nearby neighborhoods is not permitted, and fully invest themselves in the London Grove Township traffic study.
Doing so would connect a school with its neighbors in dialogue and, eventually, in action.