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Planned Woodside School Raises Traffic Concerns

WOODSIDE — Some Woodside residents are worried that a new school building slated to open on 57th Street will aggravate traffic in the neighborhood.

The five-story elementary school, P.S. 339, is scheduled to open in 2015 and will house 470 students — space that's sorely needed in the community, where local elementary schools are among the most overcrowded in the city.

But some who live near the planned school, at 57th Street and 39th Avenue, are concerned their streets will be congested with school buses and the cars of parents dropping off and picking up their children. There are already two elementary schools, P.S. 11 and St. Sebastian's School, within a few blocks of the future school site.

"I live right in the middle of it," resident Vito Rak said at a Community Board 2 meeting on Thursday. "I'm telling you, it's going to be a disaster."

The area, near the boundaries of school districts 24 and 30, has some of the most overcrowded elementary schools in the city, a Department of Education official said last month. P.S. 11, on Skillman Avenue, has been operating at 127 percent capacity and is forced to use a number of portable trailers as classrooms.

"We need these school seats," said Jean Carubia, Community Board 2 education chair, whose children graduated from PS 11. "My two kids had to sit in the classrooms in the portables."

Jim Condes, 75, who lives on 57th Street, said he understands the need for more schools but says the city should find another location for P.S. 339, in an area where there aren't so many schools already nearby.

"You don’t cram everything into a small area," he said. "It changes the complexion completely."

Carubia said the chosen location is ideal because the owner is willing to sell and has several units available — a space big enough to build a school, which can be hard to come by.

"You don't have a lot of land," she said.