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Town will post officer outside Riverhead Charter School

Electronic signs are now positioned on Route 25 to remind drivers passing by the Riverhead Charter School in Calverton just how fast they’re going. 

Meanwhile, the Riverhead Town Police Department will place an officer outside the school to direct traffic, according to Chief David Hegermiller. 

State Sen. Ken LaValle said that after learning that Superintendent Raymond Ankrum had been direct traffic outside the school himself, he reached out to the state Department of Transportation to install more effective signage advising drivers of the presence of buses, pedestrians and the school itself. 

Lately, Mr. Ankrum has donned a bright orange vest and hat twice daily and spent about 45 minutes each morning and 45 minutes each afternoon directing traffic outside the school because there’s no one else to do so.

The section of Route 25 that runs past the K-8 school has a 50 mph speed limit. 

Last year, Mr. Ankrum said, Riverhead police assigned a crossing guard assigned to the school. But that person was hit by a car while directing traffic and is still unable to work.

This year, town police initially said they were unable to provide a crossing guard, which prompted Mr. Ankrum to take it on himself — even though he’s neither trained nor authorized by police to do so, according to Chief Hegermiller. 

Photo caption: Riverhead Charter School Superintendent Ray Ankrum directs traffic. (Tim Gannon file photo)

Officials have tried in the past to convince the state to reduce the speed limit near the school, but have had no success, Mr. Ankrum said. 

Mr. LaValle said in a Facebook post that the regional office of the state Department of Transportation is taking steps to conduct a traffic study on Main Road by the charter school. The last such study was done in 2009. 

“The early indications are that there is a need for lowering the speed limit, in addition to more signage and pavement markings,” Mr. LaValle wrote. “I will keep the district abreast of any new developments that arise and share the results of the study when they are available.”

Mr. LaValle said the DOT will be moving temporary signage to the location in the next few days to better alert drivers of the presence of buses, pedestrians and the school itself.

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Photo caption: New signs posted on Route 25 in Calverton alert drivers to their speed. The speed limit near Riverhead Charter School, however, is still 50 mph. (Courtesy photo)