Don't Redistrict Upham Students South of Route 9
School Committee Members,
The Hardy Map 3 requires current Upham residents south of Lowell Road between Sprague Road and Cliff Road to attend Sprague, and we are requesting this be revisited. We recognize the need to distribute residents to the various elementary schools in order to maintain a minimum building usage capacity when redistricting from 7 to 6 schools. However, requiring students who prefer to walk or bike to school to cross a busy highway such as Route 9 with vehicles traveling at speeds of 50 mph, is short-sighted.
Other areas of town have students who walk either over or under a bridge to cross Route 9; thus, keeping children far from dangerous highway traffic. That infrastructure does not exist in a pedestrian commute to Sprague from the households north of Route 9. Sidewalks along Route 9 at no point account for pedestrian safety (i.e. guardrails) and are not continuous. While a crossing guard is present at the Kingsbury Street crosswalk and some middle and high school students cross there, even the majority of older children are driven to school due to these Route 9 safety concerns.
Logically, residents in this area will commute to Sprague via car or be required to pay for the bus. The only logical way to get to Sprague is to use the Oak Street interchange. This is a treacherous and difficult turn to make regardless of the time of day, especially during morning rush hour. As was highlighted in the redistricting forums, Oak Street is already considered by residents to be a dangerous thoroughfare. Hardy Map 3 adds an additional 70+ children to that traffic count. While children from Wellesley Farms are currently attending Sprague and travel Route 9, this new map triples that number of children required to make the same inconvenient commute.
It’s commendable the Redistricting Committee took the time to accommodate feedback from other sections of the community. However, it is unfortunate that this section of the Upham area is greatly disadvantaged by the new Hardy Map 3. Other areas of Town are concerned with traffic and walkability; we are equally as concerned.
We support the safety of our children, and everyone who drives through our community.
We support of a map that keeps the current Upham district attending elementary school north of Route 9.