Send Windsor Forest to the Right School Based on Fulton County’s Own Criteria
To Fulton County School Board:
The homeowners and taxpayers of Windsor Forest are greatly opposed to the proposed map for redistricting for a number of reasons already articulated to you by our HOA President, Mrs. Alicia Stryker, as well as through the hundreds of comments we submitted which went unaddressed. We hereby petition you to leave Windsor Forest students at Hembree Springs Elementary and utilize other identified solutions.
In the case that staying at Hembree Springs is an absolute impossibility, we hereby petition you to redistrict Windsor Forest to Sweet Apple Elementary instead of Highway 9.
We petition you for the following reasons:
Google Maps indicates that the bus stop for Windsor Forest, at the intersection of Falstaff and Houze Way, is 2.0 miles from Hembree Springs Elementary. This is a fact. This is closer than the shortest route to Highway 9 (2.1 miles) taking into account the additional 0.4 mi distance to be added to any southbound map result to account for the vehicle access limitations of Hwy 9, as drivers need to enter through Thomas Drive; plus the additional 0.1 mile required on the return trip caused by Houze Rd being inaccessible from Northbound on Highway 9.
Sweet Apple Elementary is 2.1 miles from the Windsor Forest bus stop
Projected Enrollment / Instructional Capacity:
Windsor Forest currently has 7 students attending Hembree Springs. One is moving on to Elkins Pointe. Two of them will be eligible for grandfathering. We have 3 kindergarteners starting next year. The total impact on Projected Enrollment for Hembree Springs is 7, or for Sweet Apple would be 9 children, assuming the 4th graders grandfather. Given that Sweet Apple is slated to have 5 extra classrooms in 2016 through 2018 and then 8 extra classrooms in 2018/19, it is clear that this number of students can be accommodated without any burden to Sweet Apple. Nine students would not be a burden to Hembree Springs, as well, based on the significant loss of students projected for Hembree Springs.
It is important to note that Bent Grass, Crossville Ct, Chipping Ct, Crossville Rd, and Putting Green Ln are not a part of the Windsor Forest neighborhood. Windsor Forest ends at the intersection of Windsor Trail and Putting Green Ln.
Fulton County has violated their own criteria by leaving Roswell Station zoned to Roswell North, even though it is significantly closer in proximity to the Highway 9 school. Much of the Roswell Station neighborhood is within 0.5 miles of the new school and has cut through access to Highway 9. It is difficult to understand how this particular neighborhood, wedged between Windsor Forest/Grand Veridian/Chatham Park/Windsor/Bent Grass to the North and Townsend Oaks to the South, maintained its current zoning when all of the aforementioned neighborhoods were re-zoned to Highway 9.
The Board Policy on School Attendance Boundaries states: “An attendance zone shall be established for each school, based primarily on geographic proximity, as measured by distance traveled along available routes of transportation and taking into account the instructional capacity of the school. Other criteria may be considered only when proximity provides more than one boundary option. Allowable criteria in such circumstances shall be limited to traffic patterns as they affect travel time and safety, placement of special instructional programs, history of prior rezonings affecting the area, and school feeder alignment.” Although we believe that our primary argument is sufficient, the following secondary criteria supports our request:
o The best route from Windsor Forest to Sweet Apple Elementary includes a 2.1 mile journey, leaving Windsor Forest by turning west onto Houze Way, turning right at a light onto Crabapple Road, and crossing one more light at the intersection of Hembree Road, and arriving at Sweet Apple Elementary consistently within 5 minutes. The return journey is simply the reverse.
o The best route from Windsor Forest to Hembree Springs Elementary includes a 2.0 mile journey, leaving Windsor Forest by turning east onto Houze Way, turning North at a light onto Houze Road, and turning right at the intersection of Hembree Road, and arriving at Hembree Springs Elementary consistently within 5 minutes. The return journey is simply the reverse.
o In comparison, the shortest route from Windsor Forest to Highway 9 involves leaving Windsor Forest by exiting East onto Houze Way and then turning right onto Houze Rd at a no-turn on red light, which indicates a hazardous turn due to the approaching hill on the left. Then we proceed down Houze Rd and cross yet another traffic light at Mansell Rd. We then continue on Houze Rd and merge onto Alpharetta Highway at an uncontrolled “yield sign” intersection, with cars approaching at 45 mile per hour unless heavy congestion exists, which it often does, making merging even more unsafe and difficult. After merging onto Highway 9 / Alpharetta Highway, we cross the major intersection at Highway 92. We continue until we pass the school and turn left (across 2 lanes of traffic at an uncontrolled intersection) onto Thomas Drive, continuing past Opal Dr. and into the school entrance. The return journey is .1 miles longer due to the inability to take Houze Rd until we reach Mansell Road, and thus includes another left turn onto Mansell from Highway 9. Travel time ranges anywhere from 7 to 30 minutes, due to the nature of the major roads, traffic congestion, and time of day. This variability will unnecessarily impact our parents who pick their children up from school, as they will either need to leave at least 20 minutes early, or pay the fines for arriving late. The addition of the neighborhoods along Houze Way will only add traffic to the already congested area. This variability does not exist with Hembree Springs or Sweet Apple.
o The following items are from the ARC Study which Roswell paid for showing the Holcomb Bridge Road (HBR) intersections to be heavily congested:
"Atlanta Regional Congestion Management Process (CMP) identified HBR as a congested corridor. The June 2012 Regional Snapshot indicated the HBR corridor as the most congested corridor in North Fulton, and it falls within the top 10 percent of region’s most congested corridors. Atlanta Strategic Truck Route Master Plan (ASTRoMaP) identified the HBR corridor as an east-west connector road of regional significance for the movement of freight.
i) Very High Demand and Lack of Capacity: Traffic counts at various locations along the HBR corridor indicate that HBR serves close to 75,000 vehicle per day as Annual Average Daily Traffic and close to 3,260 vehicles/hour as the Directional Peak Hourly Volume. Future traffic projections indicate that the traffic demand along this corridor will continue to grow with time.
ii) Operational Issues: As a result of very high congestion, HBR corridor experiences several operations related issues, such as queue backups from left and right turn lanes, limited signal timing options, and high weaving between various movements. These issues produce increased travel delays and reduced operating speeds. Existing travel time data shows that in the eastbound direction HBR operates at a speed of approximately 13 miles per hour (mph) whereas in the westbound direction the operating speeds are a little higher at 22 mph. Need: There is need to add roadway capacity at selected HBR segments and address operational deficiencies such as insufficient turn bay length which will improve signal coordination. Safety: The study area includes operational and safety problems such as weaving, queue spillback, and trap lanes. Four study area intersections along the HBR corridor are among the top 10 high crash locations within the City. A study of crash data along the HBR corridor between the years 2007- 2009 suggests that the corridor is currently experiencing a very high number of crashes. Within these three years, there were close to 580 crashes per year along the 1.6 miles stretch of the study corridor, with close to 25 percent involving injuries. Crash rate analysis indicates that HBR crash rates are three times higher than the statewide averages. Need: There is a need to eliminate weaving sections, trap lanes, and queue spillback at selected hot spot locations."
In a separate study in 2010, ARC rated Mansell Road as the "Most Congested" and Crossville Road/Hwy 9 as "Second Most Congested" in Cherokee & North Fulton.
o Given that both Hembree Springs and Sweet Apple alleviate the need to travel on Holcomb Bridge and Highway 9, there is a huge safety net put into place. Windsor Forest is closer to Hembree Springs and Sweet Apple, so there is no justification for forcing our children to cross “One of the most dangerous intersections in Roswell” (http://www.whistleblowerlawyerblawg.com/2012/11/dangerous-intersections-in-roswell-georgia.html) without a valid reason.
School Feeder Alignment:
o Leaving Windsor Forest at Hembree Springs or placing Windsor Forest at Sweet Apple would ensure that the 100% feeder to Elkins Pointe is maintained and would be in line with the current 66% / 34% high school split, as Windsor Forest is zoned for Roswell High School. Placing Windsor Forest at Highway 9 would mean that after 6 years of schooling, 30% of our children’s friends would move to Holcomb Bridge MS and be out of their educational path forever. Another 33% would go to Crabapple Middle School. Thus our children would be separated from approximately 63% of their friends during the difficult middle school transition.History of Prior Rezonings:
o Windsor Forest has continuously been redistricted. Our neighborhood has been zoned to Roswell Elementary, Crabapple Crossing, Roswell North, Mimosa, and Hembree Springs.
Our quadrant, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Swim/Tennis, and our community is North of Holcomb and West of Highway 9. These are the friends that we currently go to school with, attend church with, and will be attending middle school and high school with. We want a school that we can be proud of. A school that is for the long term, a school that we can get involved in, and a school that is a part of our community.
Separating Windsor Forest and the rest of Houze Way from the rest of the community does not make sense based on both primary and secondary criteria. We have followed the redistricting process for the last 16 months. We have attended meetings, we have provided feedback, we have attempted to address the Operational Planning Group, and we have addressed the Board several times. We respectfully petition that our concerns finally be heard and that the map be changed to leave Windsor Forest at Hembree Springs or redistricted to Sweet Apple Elementary, the only acceptable criteria-based schools for the Windsor Forest neighborhood.