Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dunwoody High School Parking Problems

Dunwoody High School does not have enough parking.  It's a supply/demand issue, and also a civics lesson as well.  Perhaps the Academy of Finance or AP Psych can take on this case.

In summary, the school has more students, teachers/staff, volunteers, and visitors than previous years.  And the number of parking spaces is less than prior to the school's remodeling a couple years ago.  As a result, DHS students are parking on residential streets (legally, and sometimes illegally), irritating some homeowners.

Vanderlyn parents have nowhere to park, nor do many visitors to DHS.  We've heard that some Vandy moms are no longer taking hot lunches to their kids at lunch time, and instead packing a lunch in a brown sack.  Things are tough.  

The DHS students have the same right to park on Vanderlyn Drive as the Vanderlyn parents, and students seem willing to arrive 45-60 minutes before school starts, preempting the Vandy mini-van / Volvo crowd.

And DHS resource officers/staff cannot/should not tell students they can't park legally on residential streets. On a side note, the guy 'directing' traffic at Vanderlyn Drive and Vermack needs a refresher course in traffic control. Reminds us of Mt Vernon by All Saints on  Sundays). Too bad that guy who used to direct traffic at Austin (the guy with all the stickers on his old SUV) isn't around to take over traffic by Vandy. 

Homeowners on at least one Dunwoody residential street have routinely been placing 'do not park on our street' notes on students' cars.  Sorry, they don't own the street.  If I owned one of those houses I wouldn't be super excited about students parking on the street either, but it's one of those risks when you buy a house a half block from two schools.  It reminds us a bit of the folks living near Brook Run who complain about hearing children play.  It also reminds us of the folks who live by the baseball fields on Roberts.  They oppose a school going in there.  Like the Brook Run floodplain posse, they believe the ball fields park is their private oasis. 

The local residents near DHS should know that the students really don't want to park on side streets.  They'd much rather park in a lot.  

Ride the bus?  I'm sure our seasoned citizens and Farmhouzers alike will remind us of the good old days when they walked uphill, both ways, for miles, to hitch a ride on old yeller. They rode the bus, and liked it. (some of our DPT members rode ole Buck or Dinkey, not a bus). But back when Mrs. Redfield-Spruill-Donaldson operated the old one-room Dunwoody grammar school, kids simply wrote on a slab of slate with chalk hand-mined from the earth, then went to work.  Back then we had no AP classes.  AP meant All Present, at work!  Kids as young as six months old worked on the family farm, or at the BrookRunner Stained Glass Window factory, or wiped tables at Mellow Mushroom, home to Hoeegarden on draft and fresh pizza made with spring-water pizza dough.  

Today's student takes classes at the local college part of the day, and needs a car to commute to and fro. Some students are taking classes at Fernbank and at DHS, needing a car.  Some kids play a sport or have an after-school club, and their parent(s) work.  There are many reasons why students drive to school.  But, there are some kids who drive simply because they want to drive, and could ride the bus.  

Carpool?  Many of the cars have more than one student.  And with graduated drivers licenses, some kids cannot have peers in the car.

Not all streets near DHS and Vandy are affected by parking.  At some point, prior to becoming a city, 'no parking' signs were installed on both sides of Hensley Drive.  I'm not sure who lives on that street, but they may have some connections.  After asking the Dunwoody police chief about opening parking on one side of that street, he said it's not going to happen.  Looking at a list of streets in DeKalb that have restricted parking, we do not find Hensley Drive  (see HERE for official streets).  Looks like a win for Hensley Drive residents. We'd like to see a traffic study that prohibits parking on Hensley, as stated in Section 30-104 of Dunwoody's Code of Ordinances (Comp. Ords. 2008, ch. 17, art. 4, § 3).  Section 30-111 discusses no parking on narrow roadways, but Hensley is much wider than 20 feet, as described in our code. 

But the parking issue is not from Hensley Drive and our police department (the police make regular visits to DHS to ticket illegally parked cars, so make sure your kid knows the rule.  If a No Parking sign is on the street, then no parking for that block, on that side of the street). 

current and future view of parking lot at Dunwoody High School

The solution is easy, and can be completely quickly.  All students, parents, visitors, Vandy spelling bee winners, and residents in the DHS/Vandy Education District need to contact our elected officials and school district staff (and may as well get city council involved).  The solution is to cover the retention pond and convert it into parking.  We realize the Wildcat swim team uses that pond, as does the Lady Wildcat ice-skating team (weather permitting), but we can always find another see-ment pond for swimming.

Look HERE and click on the Champion Jeep Dealership study for an example of what can be done to solve this issue.  Working together, this problem can be solved in a month.

Whom should you contact?  We are not sure who will make this decision, but we suggest contacting:

(be kind, state the issue and the solution)
school principal
school board member for District 1
regional superintendent for District 1
Chief Operations officer
DeKalb Super
mayor and city council (not their land, but they could help get this done, if they care)
And finally, to preserve the sanity of our readers, please no bike/bike lane/theater/floodplain/DHA comments.