The following article was published by the AJC this morning after I mentioned it twice on my blog and let numerous news organizations know of the situation. In my first post, the problem was identified publicly after there was no outlook of a resolution on the horizon. In e-mail traffic that followed, it was shown that the School Board was being forced to pay for the road improvement but only had $50,000 in funds available. Because of this, the County Public Works Department was willing to change the original intersection design to meet the School Boards available funding. (Where are the original designs & why did I attend a public meeting several years ago specifically to see those plans?)
This travesty of ineptitude has effected the entire community for the last couple of months and now because of these last minute proposed intersection design changes, there is the possibly of it impeding the traffic flow through my neighborhood for many years to come. In my last message to both the County & School Board responsible parties, I requested a copy of the final intersection blueprints. Four days later with no acknowledgment of my request I decided to post those e-mails in a second blog entry and today because of the AJC article below I will be putting forth a request for public records regarding this intersection "improvement".
I encourage you to read the prior posts on the subject, since I of course am still waiting for the blueprints.
KRISTINA TORRES of the AJC
The new parking lot and driveway outside Dunwoody's renovated Peachtree Charter Middle School sits unused. Completed in November, it has become a kind of inside joke.
"We love to look at it through the fence," said Lisa Curtis, a parent volunteer, who like scores of others dreads the morning drive to the school, as a crush of traffic jockeys for position on and around a narrow neighborhood road behind a campus that serves as a temporary access point.
The problem can be summed up in one word — obstruction. Literally, in this case. Perhaps coupled with obstinacy. The county school system and the county government — two separate entities with a history of disagreement over these kinds of things — apparently have been true to form in this case as well.
Here's how it all played out.
The DeKalb County school system completed construction on the parking lot and driveway — replete with fresh paving, road signs and road paint — just short of a roughly 40-foot-long grassy strip. The strip, as well as a curb, blocks the school's new entrance and exit at North Peachtree Road.
Also in the way are two utility poles, which support existing traffic lights. The entire intersection needs to be reconfigured. For the parking lot to be used, earth needs to be moved.
But no one, it seems, wanted to pay for it.
"The statute is clear, the county is responsible for county road improvements," Patricia Pope, the school system's chief operating officer, said in an e-mail Dec. 11 to Dunwoody North Civic Association President John Heneghan. Pope was replying to an e-mail Heneghan had sent."The county has not performed the work and has asked the school system to pay for it," Pope added. "We are paying for the work under strong objections. As you can imagine, we will never get reimbursed."
But last week, in response to queries by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, representatives of both the county government and the county school system indicated that they had come to some sort of accord. At least publicly.
"There is no conflict," Pope said, adding that the cost to fix the problem will be approximately $41,000.
County spokeswoman Kristie Swink said DeKalb and the school system would pool money to pay for the changes — which she called "cost-sharing" — although she said they were still working out exactly what the split would be.
"There's no animosity," said Swink, adding that the work was likely to start "early next year at the latest. We're working together. Everybody's on the same page at this point."
Parents can only wonder what took so long.
"We've been under construction for two years," Curtis said. "Clearly, nobody did their job in planning for this. To me, that's the most frustrating aspect about this."
Of course, it's not the first time this has happened. Most notably, perhaps, is a 1994 Georgia Supreme Court case in which the DeKalb school system sued the county over the same issue.
The ruling? That improving public roads is the responsibility of counties and cities.