Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why don't more Dunwoody Children Walk to School? Is it safe enough?

When I campaigned to sit on the Dunwoody City Council one of the items I thought that could be improved was the walkability and bikeability of our routes to schools so that children could safely use those options. It is my opinion that we need more sidewalks on major thoroughfares near the schools, improved crosswalks, striped bike lanes, more curb cuts and better traffic signals with longer countdown timers. We need adequate speed and traffic enforcement around the schools to remind everyone that we value our children's lives and safety.

Prior to becoming an elected official, I passed out slow down signs, lobbied for improved speed enforcement and even recommended changes in State Law for better enforcement. As an elected official I hope to continue my previous efforts but hope to enjoin the resources of the City of Dunwoody as well as other State & Federal grants to help me with this endeavor.

On Thursday, I will be meeting with the Georgia Department of Transportation to learn about the Safe Routes to School program which is eligible to local governments for infrastructure improvements up to $500,000. Being a new municipality with no previous history of working towards this goal, the City might have a hard time obtaining any grant money but this is definitely worth trying for. (Are there any grant writers in the community who could assist us in this project? If so, please contact me.)

The Safe Routes To School (SRTS) program is designed to fund comprehensive programs that include the 5 Es (Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation, and Engineering) throughout Georgia to encourage and enable more children to walk and bike to school safely. The funds are intended to start an SRTS program in communities and assist community members in sustaining successful SRTS programs.
Safe Routes to Schools Workshop
Thursday, October 23, 2008,
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Georgia DOT,
600 West Peachtree Street N.W., 4th Floor,
Atlanta, GA 30308,
Tel. (404) 631-1990

National Safe Routes to School Task Force Report




Safe Routes to School Video

15 comments:

DunwoodyParent said...

Pulling 4th and 5th graders from Austin and Vanerlyn and Chesnut 'removed' about 500 walkers from the three schools. The number could be higher as now their younger siblings may not be permitted to walk to school without their big brother/sister.

Charles said...

John - I know an outstanding grant writer that lives in Dunwoody and as soon as I get her permission will forward her contact information to you.

Charlie Collins

DunwoodyParent said...

Well...probably not 500. Since the new school is 500 yards from Vanderlyn, I assume that all the Vanderlyn walkers will still walk to the new school.

Maybe Austin is different, but I don't seen any 4th and 5th graders at Vanderlyn walking their younger siblings to school. I see a lot of parents walking their children to school.

DunwoodyParent said...

John,

Any way to limit the names of posters here? There are two 'dunwoodyparent' people here.

Also, due to the business of Womack and lack of sidewalks I do not see many kis walking to the 4-5. And yes, older kids do walk younger ids to school at Austin. It seems dunwoodyparent II exists merely to promote the 4-5 school since I oppose it.

John Heneghan said...

To my two dunwoodyparent's there is no way for me to control your user names, though I can tell you apart because one of you has a very nice photo on your profile and the other does not.

Sorry about that but one of you may want to switch your nome de plume or add a photo.

dunwoodydad said...

John, I don't know how long you'll be able to keep up your open and transparent service going forward, but we do appreciate it.

I agree with everything you do stand for thus far. Although I agree with having a walkable/green community, the question is where are we walking to?

If the schools are not improved, it becomes a moot point. I know you are with me on that, but I'll continue.

The conditions of the schools and the failing DCS is disturbing. There is no reason that a Dunwoody controlled School Board should have an inferior schools. I understand that our "hands are tied", but there are ways to move forward .

The grand plans are wonderful, but without upgrades in education (along with cultural and services) the perceived value of Dunwoody will only slightly increase. The perceived value of Dunwoody will ultimately be driven by education. There is no doubt in my mind that a cultural and service upgrade that you propose will makes this a better place to live, but ultimately, it is the schools that will allow us to reach full potential as a community.

Keep up the great work!

John Heneghan said...

Thanks, I too would rather have SAT Scores over sidewalks but unfortunately the Dunwoody City Council will have little input on the quality of the schools.

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

If you moved to Dunwoody because you were told the schools are great, you were misinformed. If you believe public schools are a significant factor in your property value, you might consider cutting your losses. If you think the city will take over Dunwoody schools or will zone away apartments (and property rights), well, hope springs eternal.

Ilovemykids said...

I will vehemently disagree with your assessments of Dunwoody public schools. My children have been in DCSS since Pre-K. One is now a freshman at Dunwoody and the other a 7th grader at Peachtree. I have been VERY pleased with their education and will put their academic successes up against any private school child. I also know that my children will have a well-rounded education - both academically and socially.

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

Whoa there, ilmk. Not my assessment, but Newsweek's.

There are teacher proof students. No doubt. But there are also some objective measures and by those metrics Ga Schools including DeKalb County and Dunwoody, simply don't measure up. And they are in decline. This will continue until parents stop being cheerleaders for their child's school and become well-informed buyers demanding a globally competitive education for and from their children.

I would recommend that every parent of a public school child watch the documentary "2 million minutes".

dunwoodydad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dunwoodydad said...

TOD,
I moved here because I felt this zip was well undervalued. I did not know that education was as well. My realtor also told me that the schools were "great"... I have two little kids that just started school (the school with the "cute", dilapidated, little trailers littering the compound).

If things don't improve, measurably (like bricks and mortar ASAP), I will have an unpopular household decision to make.

Sidebar: Last year I went to Dunwoody High School to watch a basketball game with my kid...
I didn't know that Dunwoody High School replaced their cherleaders with a "stomp team" and the student body had difficulty keeping their pants above their private parts...

Anyway, there is no freaking way my kids are going to matriculate through a cesspool like that. The Dean, the Principal and the Superintendent should be fired ASAP.

Ilovemykids said...

I didn't know that Dunwoody High School replaced their cherleaders with a "stomp team" and the student body had difficulty keeping their pants above their private parts...

Wow, just wow. You would condemn an entire school over one visit to a basketball game? My child attends that "cesspool" and is receiving a fine, quality education. Perhaps you would be fill more comfortable living in Forsyth County.

DunwoodyParent said...

ilovemykids,

Actually, Forsyth County schools (middle and high school) have better test scores than PCMS and Dunwoody High.

Ilovemykids said...

What test scores are you referring to?