We are petitioning in regards to the new traffic patterns in the area adjacent the new Phenix School as well as other issues we have noticed that remain unresolved. Michael’s Woods is in fact a subdivision. During the planning phases of the Phenix school construction, residents were told that after the school complex opened, this area would be for WALKING traffic ONLY and that the child pick-up drop off point would be located at the front of the building. People have purchased homes in this subdivision to escape traffic and enjoy peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city streets however with the opening of the new facility, that peace and quiet has been diminished substantially.
Since the opening of the school, the residents of Michael’s Woods have noticed an exponential growth of vehicular traffic in the area. In particular, the intersection of Decesare Drive and Gray’s Landing is being used as an alternate child drop off and pick-up point. Day after day we notice an increase in traffic including dangerous traffic maneuvers which pose a life safety issue to the children walking to and from school. There has been minimal police presence since October 20th. Only recently, a crossing guard who has no interaction with traffic on the Michael’s Woods side of the gate has been utilized. Below are the issues we would like to see addressed:
The official drop off location is at the front of the Phenix school. Parents wishing to pick their children up from school should be required to use the proper location set forth by Phenix school representatives to include enforcement. Enforcement is necessary for multiple reasons:
· To ensure the safety of the children walking to and from school
· With the increased traffic and the fact small children are crossing the street from various locations including the marked crosswalk; vehicles do not yield to these children.
· Lack of student accountability—What actions are currently being taken to ensure the car the child gets into is actually that of the parent/guardian? Forrest Elementary and other schools have a single point of pick up to ensure the child is getting into the correct vehicle (Number system).
· Children are loitering in our neighborhood waiting for their parents to pick them up.
· Our section of neighborhood has seen an increase in litter.
o One item of concern amongst residents adjacent to the Phenix school is that employees continue to use the end of Gray’s Landing for their smoke breaks. Not only does this provide a poor example for children playing on the playground who can see this if they are out but it also detracts from the appearance of our neighborhood. There has been an increase in trash consisting of smoke butts that we didn’t have before.
· The children walking need to be informed to stay off of people’s private property and not loiter. Children are loitering in people’s driveways and on the sidewalks waiting for their friends or their parents to pick them up. Some of the children are leaning on home owner’s fences and are brazen enough to help themselves to swings in people’s front yards. Although it may appear harmless it is a liability for us. If Phenix school were to prohibit the use of Michaels Woods as a drop-off/pick-up location, the number of students loitering will be reduced.
It is only with proper and sufficient enforcement initiated by the Phenix school representatives that these primary concerns can be resolved and that the quality of life for the neighboring residential property owners will return to pre-school construction levels.
The traffic that the new Phenix School has introduced to our neighborhood is considered intrusive to residents and not necessary. The school has a viable pick up/ drop off location that is much safer than the “free for all” we have occurring here at our intersection. Due to the intrusive traffic, residents continuously have their mailboxes blocked and driveways being used by parents to turn around in. Furthermore, residents have no street parking available to park when returning home when the parents are here waiting for their children. As a result, residents who utilize street parking have to wait until they are gone, not to mention the increase in noise from the vehicles alarm systems.
Regarding issues that the City of Hampton is believed to be responsible for enforcing and maintaining, we have the following issues/concerns to address:
· The signs that have been put up are not effective. They are not enforced so often are ignored.
· Both Decesare Drive and Gray’s Landing need to have the speed limit enforced. Speeding cars endanger children walking to school down the middle of the road and children being dropped off in the middle of crosswalks/intersection. This concern we feel deserves immediate attention. Again, if the Phenix school were to prohibit parents from using Michael’s Woods, traffic flow will be reduced.
We hope that our requests will be taken to heart and acted upon, not ignored. Not only is it the right thing to do, It’s what we were promised.