Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Paving Dunwoody Roads, Timing, and Teachable Moments

(Insert picture here of Dunwoody ES, Vanderlyn ES, Dunwoody HS parking lots overflowing on to side streets during registration while road work continues on both Vermack and Womack.)

A picture of the streets-turned-parking-lots right outside of Dunwoody ES would have said all that needs to be said about schools and traffic.  But it isn't the first day of school - it's Registration Day in DeKalb County and that means that our centrally-located intersection with 3 public schools in close proximity are packed to the gills.  It wasn't safe to inch through the line while snagging a cell-phone photo of the above.

But wait, there's more.

Two much needed street improvements are also occurring at the same time.  (paving on Vermack, a refuge island outside of Dunwoody ES on Womack)

Discussion was had on Facebook with Terry Nall about the construction and its timing.  Terry reports that the contractor was required to complete work before the first day of school.
The work on both Vanderlyn Dr and Vermack Rd was intentionally scheduled to be completed before school started back.
Anyone who has ever had a child in public schools even for a single year can see the problem with that logic.  The "first day of school" is not the first day that activity gets heated in public schools.  Teachers and staff return in advance to set up their classrooms and get other operations in order.  then a few days BEFORE the first day of school is registration.  Even with prepping paperwork through the summer, families have to show up on registration day to finalize it all.  Dunwoody ES had a packed parking lot with overflow parking clogging both driveways.  Parking for all three schools spread into the neighborhood side streets.  A roundabout would have done nothing to ease the congestion at Dunwoody's most controversial intersection.

So what did we learn today?

1)  Allowing contractors to schedule street work at the last minute results in a clusterf*** by any definition.
2)  The "first day of school" is not a reasonable deadline for road work.  Assume the contractors are going to wait to the last minute to finish up.
3)  The real deadline should be a week before the first day of school, to get out of the way prior to registration.
4)  Whoever made this decision can read a calendar but needs to brush up on the actual start-of-school logistics.

Remember an earlier post where I said it's time to stop making mistakes?  This would be a good mistake to stop making.  Fortunately it's an easy one to fix.  Start construction projects around schools immediately after school lets out in May and mandate completion before August 1.

Best of luck to everyone in this new school year!

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