Some Residents Displeased with Safe Routes Project That Would Move Glennwood School Entrance

The Georgia Department of Transportation is finally getting around to building out a “Safe Routes to School transportation improvement” project and some residents don’t approve of one particular element of the project, moving the entrance to Glennwood Elementary to align with Sycamore Place. A petition created by surrounding residents to oppose the plan states

“The current plan would result in the loss of existing trees and the current school sign and will create a much shorter front driveway for the school. The shorter driveway will result in the buses loading in the lower parking lot where carpool is currently held. This will result in requiring staggered dismissal times, which will be a considerable inconvenience for teachers and families. It will also result in traffic backups onto East Ponce de Leon, as parents’ cars will not be able to maneuver past the busses into the lower parking lot. Finally, there is a safety concern with having Sycamore Place end directly into our driveway, as a distracted driver may continue driving straight through the light without noticing the transition from street to driveway.”

City Manager Peggy Merriss says that the plan is “part of a Safe Routes to School transportation improvement that the City and the City Schools requested a number of years ago that GDOT is just getting around to completing.”  She adds that the plan “also includes improvements to the intersection at Commerce Drive and Sycamore Place, installation of bike racks and some other items.”

There also seem to be differing explanations of why the plan was conceived in the first place.

According to the City Manager, the current situation along the street is that “…the intersection at East Ponce de Leon and Sycamore Place followed quickly by the entrance to the drive at Glennwood Elementary is a challenging one for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles to negotiate and rebuilding it would improve conditions.”  But opposing residents say the work was initially planned because of increased traffic due to it being a 4/5 Academy and that it is now unnecessary because Glennwood is now a neighborhood school and “many families living within walking or biking distance.”

So it sounds like there are a few different viewpoints on the purpose and result of the project at this point.  Either way, Ms. Merriss also tells DM that “…the City is aware of the City Schools concerns about timing of construction and disruption to the school.  We are trying to get GDOT’s cooperation in reviewing the project to address the concerns.”

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

6 thoughts on “Some Residents Displeased with Safe Routes Project That Would Move Glennwood School Entrance”

  1. I’m one of the parents involved. I called Amanda Thompson and spoke with her earlier today. She clarified some of the aspects of the project. It seems that while everyone I spoke with at GDOT referred to the “traffic problem” at the intersection, the original purpose was to create a safer intersection for pedestrians and bicyclists, which is of course a great goal.

    If moving the driveway is the only or best way to accomplish that, then we will certainly reevaluate our position.

    The concerns about bus loading remain, but hopefully we will be able to address them. The goal of our petition was not to disrupt the entire project but to work on this one piece that involves the driveway.

    I am hopeful that increased communication between the city, the community, and the school system will work toward everyone’s benefit.

  2. I just know I will be sorry I asked this, but here goes anyway: Instead of moving/shortening the school driveway making it look like Sycamore Pl. continues, why couldn’t DOT lengthen the stop area on Ponce in front of the school and put traffic lights at both ends of the driveway?

  3. If increased pedestrian safety is the goal, the DOT plan seems counter-productive. Forcing buses to reverse to turn at the end of the school drivewa and increasing lines of cars waiting to pick up children not only increase traffic, they create an increased danger to pedestrians.

    It seems like the plan was made based on numbers and charts, without meaningful observation.

  4. I really hope leadership steps in and stops this plan. This is NOT a good idea. There are only 2 buses in the morning, so there is NO NEED to change the intersection. They can certainly redirect the funds for this project, if possible given GDOT parameters, onto a BETTER use of the funds.

    Perhaps the school board can be engaged.

  5. This doesn’t make any sense to me. Change the crosswalk if you’re concerned about pedestrian safety. I don’t think it’s unsafe to begin with, but re-doing that whole entrance would be a huge waste of time and money.

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