Roseanne Lutz was pulling out of the Corners Cove cul de sac where she lives on a recent Tuesday morning. Numerous cars lined one side of the street along the manicured lawns of the neighborhood – but none of them belonged to the residents of the seven homes located off Vermack Road.
“We’re getting perturbed about the students parking here,” Lutz said while leaning out the window of her Toyota Prius.
The students Lutz and others are irritated with are Dunwoody High School students who have taken to parking in front of residences on various residential side streets because there is no parking available at the school. Dunwoody High School is located at 5035 Vermack Drive.
Residents have been leaving notes on the windshields of students’ vehicles telling them they can’t park here, according to posts on social media. Police have been called numerous times to ticket or warn students, and the city has also installed signs saying “No Parking from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.” on several streets around high school.
A Dunwoody police officer had already been to Corners Cove twice before 9:30 a.m. to patrol the cul de sac and ensure no students were parked illegally, Lutz said. Because the residential streets are public roads, students are allowed to park on them as long as they do so legally, as in not in front of driveways or on the wrong side of the street.
Lutz pointed to a red Jeep parked in front of a home and said the residents have talked to the student who drives the Jeep and also to his mother.
“He’s an Eagle Scout,” she said. “They’re good kids. Well, most of them are. And they do carpool and we appreciate that,” Lutz said.
One recent morning Lutz said she saw two teenaged boys moving her garbage bins from in front of her house. She asked them what they were doing and they told her they were making a parking space.
“We’re trying to get in our driveways, to get to our mail [from mailboxes], and there are cars in front of them,” she said. “It’s getting tight.”
The lack of parking at DHS and spillover into nearby streets is not a new issue. But in recent weeks, the Dunwoody Police Department has issued a statement via social media noting the issue and saying they are aware of the problem.
“If the vehicles are parked illegally and a resident notifies us, we will respond and take any appropriate action required,” Officer Mark Stevens wrote in an email. “We do not tow unless the vehicle affects traffic flow. Ticketing is at the discretion of the officer, as is contacting the driver prior to enforcement actions.”
City officials are also trying to find some kind of fix to alleviate the parking problem, city spokesperson Bob Mullen said.
“The role the city has is to ensure students, teachers and visitors are parked legally, in designated spaces and not in areas or on streets where parking restrictions exist,” he wrote in an email.
“We’ve spoken with DHS Principal Tom McFerrin about the parking and lack of space and they are looking at ways to address the issue. When they have reviewed the options, we plan to coordinate a time to reconvene and discuss,” Mullen said.
McFerrin did not return calls seeking comment for this article.
Robin Lubin was sitting at a picnic table in front of Vanderlyn Elementary School with her mother on a recent Friday afternoon waiting for her children to get out of school. She said she parks at a nearby park and walks to the school. Vanderlyn Elementary is located at 1877 Vanderlyn Drive, right around the corner from DHS.
“Now there are no spots for parents to park,” she said. The high school students are parking in the visitor parking spaces in front of the elementary school that were once used by parents when they dropped off their children in the morning and picked them up in the afternoon, she said.
Lubin said when she was a DHS student in 1994, students were told not to park in front of Vanderlyn Elementary.
A resident at the end of Vanderlyn Drive puts up orange pylons every day to keep students out and has been doing it for more than a year, Lubin said. Parents will gather in the Vanderlyn Elementary School playground while waiting for their children to get out of school and complain about the lack of parking they have because DHS students are using all their spaces, she said.
Lubin said the parking problems started in 2014 and at the end of last year “it became unmanageable.”
“There are unhappy parents that come to Vanderlyn to volunteer and they are not able to park in front of the school,” she said.
“It’s crazy,” Lubin said. “It’s just a mess.”