Some Parkside Green residents are opposing plans to build a preschool at Dillman and Jog roads because they fear it will worsen an existing traffic problem — the wait to leave their community on weekday mornings, when drivers on Jog Road make U-turns at the median cut in front of Parkside Green Drive.
Many of the cars making U-turns are believed to be parents who drop their children off at Cholee Lake Elementary. After leaving the school headed east on Dillman Road, drivers are forced to turn south on Jog Road. Many want to go north, so they make U-turns in front of the Parkside Green entrance.
“If you leave here before 8:30 and want to go south, forget it,” said Claire Abrams, a longtime resident of Parkside Green, a community consisting of 112 patio villas. “As long as you want to go north on Jog, somebody will let you out.”
Abrams waits until around 8:45 a.m. before heading to work to avoid the traffic, which sometimes stacks up in the northbound lanes of Jog Road.
“(The traffic) hasn’t driven me nuts, but it’s busy,” Parkside Green resident Adam Boyd said.
Assistant City Manager Tom Lanahan said one way to alleviate Parkside Green’s morning traffic woes is to open the community’s old north entrance leading to Summit Boulevard. But Abrams said opening the north entrance would allow drivers to use Parkside Green Drive as a shortcut to Jog Road as they did before it was closed 20 years ago.
Closing the Summit Boulevard entrance made Jog Road the only entrance to Parkside Green but also reduced traffic inside the community, which Abrams said used to include large trucks.
The proposed 6,300-square-foot Kid’s College preschool would have 34 parking spaces and would handle up to 130 children.
A traffic study by Yvonne Ziel Traffic Consultants found that the preschool would generate 249 car trips daily, including 38 in the morning peak traffic time and 39 in the evening peak. Lanahan said the preschool would not make traffic on Jog Road significantly worse.
The city council approved a special zoning exception for the preschool Feb. 4, but noted that traffic concerns must be addressed before the site plan comes back to the council for approval this spring.
Councilman Jonathan Pearce voted against the preschool plan, noting that he received 29 phone calls and emails from Parkside Green residents concerned about traffic.
Adding to the morning traffic woes on Jog Road is the lack of a sidewalk on the south side of Dillman Road.
Crossing guards stop traffic on Jog at Dillman to allow children walking to Cholee Lake Elementary to reach the sidewalk on the north side of Dillman. An engineer with Kimley-Horn and Associates recommended adding a sidewalk on the south side of Dillman to reduce crossing delays before and after school.
“We will start exploring how to get a sidewalk along the south side of Dillman Road, but it may be a long process due to right-of-way and funding constraints,” Lanahan said.
Kid’s College would be required to install a sidewalk along the short stretch of Dillman Road that fronts the preschool.
The Kimley-Horn engineer also recommended opening the north entrance to Parkside Green — an option city officials retained in 1993, when they agreed to allow residents to close the Summit Boulevard entrance “temporarily” but denied a request to permanently close it.
Mayor Sam Ferreri said a “No U-Turn” sign should be added to the median on Jog Road near the Parkside Green entrance, forcing drivers to head farther south before making 180-degree turns. The next U-turn opportunity to the south is Olive Tree Boulevard, which has a traffic signal.