When Jennifer Jakubecy was scouting locations to house her planned Davidson Green School, she was focused on areas with an abundance of woodlands and outdoor space where classes would be held.She was also looking for a place that could handle parking and traffic from parents dropping off and picking up their children every day.“We’ve been very careful to try to predict any problems,” said Jakubecy of Davidson Green School, located in a home on a 3-acre lot at 511 S. Main St. in Davidson. “We’re not going to be adding much traffic, but if we found something that became a problem, it’d be something we’d have to address.”In fact, all schools located within Davidson’s town limits now have to pay even more attention to their parking and traffic flow because of an ordinance that was unanimously passed by the Davidson Town Board of Commissioners during its July 8 meeting.The ordinance was enacted because of an ongoing and growing problem with traffic congestion around the schools as parents drop off their children in the mornings and pick them up in the afternoons, town officials said.“It’s been a slow progression, but more parents are taking their kids to school, dropping them off and picking them up,” Davidson Police Chief Jeanna Miller said. “That develops these very long lines of parents in the roadways sometimes, with their engines running and blocking lanes.”The new ordinance requires any new school opening in Davidson to provide a traffic impact analysis by a town-approved transportation engineer, “sufficient stacking lanes for drop-off and pick-up” on school property so that traffic flow on streets is not affected and that the school have at least two parking spaces per classroom. At least half of the parking requirement can be met by off-site parking.“Each school has its own unique issues that we’re trying to work on,” Miller said. “And once you get to the high schools, they have their own issues because of the number of kids who have cars and drive to school.”While schools that are currently operating in the town limits are grandfathered under the former ordinance (except for Davidson College, which is exempt), any changes – such as adding facilities or expanding the number of students – would then force the schools to comply with the new rules, according to Davidson town manager Leamon Brice.Davidson Green School applied for and received its zoning and other approvals from town officials before the new ordinance was approved. The school, which will have approximately three dozen students in kindergarten through fourth-grade classes, is scheduled to open in September.However, Jakubecy said that she and her partners in the venture have been doing their homework, hiring Davenport, a transportation and environmental engineering firm, as a consultant on traffic issues. “We love the location,” Jakubecy said. “It’s got a long driveway, which gives us a long queue line. ... The engineers don’t anticipate any problems; they say we can handle 16 cars at a time.”The driveway has also been made a one-way drive – cars enter on Twin Oaks Road, which borders the school property on its west side, and exit on South Main Street – and school officials have set up staggered drop-off and pick-up times for students.But Jakubecy said she’s also been working to build good relationships with the school’s neighbors, in hopes of solving any problems before they crop up.“I’ve talked with our neighbors,” Jakubecy said. “We’ve also had information sessions, and we’ve dedicated time to address their concerns.“We are trying to make sure people have information, and be really open and communicative as to our plans and how they might affect them, and how we plan to address those concerns.”
Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013
Schools must adapt to new parking law
Kiser: 704-895-3662; Twitter: @BKiser_CLTObs
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less