Ten years ago, my biggest concern was pick-up lines. “Do you have a map? I’m getting lost in your eyes!” Or, “Are you a library book, cause I’m checking you out!” And finally, “Feel my sweater, it is boyfriend material”.
Fast forward to today and my problem, and that of many Fort Thomas parents, is still pick-up lines, only of a different sort! That’s right, I’m talking about the dreaded school drop-off and pick-up lines at the Fort Thomas schools. I'm talking about the frustration of the car lines to rival the opening scene traffic jam from Office Space. I’m talking about lines so bad that after dropping your kid off you’re tempted to circle around to the end of the line, figuring by the time you get to the front you’ll just barely make it in time for afternoon pick-up. So, why are you letting yourself be reduced to a screaming, blithering, frustrated NYC cabbie every Monday to Friday morning when you could be handling it like the below guide:
Step one: Retrieving your child.
Moyer and Woodfill have a very straightforward and pretty simple procedure. Each parent is given a name tag to hang on their car window. The teachers see the tag and send your child. However, no tag, no child and you end up having to choose one out of the lost and found bin and hope that no one notices the difference. Johnson is a bit different since parents have to actually (gasp!) find a parking spot, wait, and load their own children, absent the pick-up line.
Step two: Do not run over your neighbor.
This shouldn’t need to be an actual step but apparently some have come close to forgetting (you know who you are!). You must respect other drivers. And you must respect other people at the crosswalk.
Step three: Move it.
Every inch of space between you and the car in front of you makes the car line physically longer. So remember, this is not a middle school canteen and you do NOT need to save room for the holy spirit. It may even be worth coupling your bumper to the car in front of you to ensure there is not an inch left. Oh, and once you have your kid, LEAVE THE LINE.
Step Four: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.
Remember, if you fail to pick up your child at the end of the school day, you can always come back and try to get them tomorrow. It’s only one overnight and it’s not like locking children in a school overnight is the beginning of every campy teenage horror film ever. Let’s just hope you don’t mess up on Friday afternoon!
Ok, ok. So the steps above aren’t actually all that helpful. Perhaps the actual school procedures spelled out below will be a little better.
Johnson Drop off procedure:
Since Johnson is located on a very busy street, students are strongly encouraged to walk. However, when children need to be driven, administrators need parents to pull all the way to the front of the drop off zone, unload quickly, and then exit the drop off zone immediately. This is a No Parking zone. Also, parents and students must always use the crosswalk.
John Stratton, Assistant Superintendent of the Fort Thomas schools states that the district is “in agreement [that] something [needs] to be done at Johnson to help the congestion”. He goes on to state that, “the problem is the only answer we have at this point involves space and money- neither of which we have at this time”. The district is actively pursuing funds from the General Assembly to address this issue.
Jill Taylor, Johnson mom, states that, “drop off is a piece of cake but pick up is a nightmare”. Emily Anderson, mom of a Kindergarten student advises parents to find a spot on a side street to park since “there is only room for 5 or 6 cars at a time [and] there aren’t any rules”.
So, let the Pick-Up Games begin.
Moyer seems to have their drop-off and pick-up down to a pretty perfect science. Drivers enter their access road from James Avenue (by the Swim Club) and drop their students at the corner of the gym any time after 7:30 but before 8:15. An attendant takes the children into school and another stops traffic to allow 5 cars to exit at a time, turning either right or left back onto Highland Avenue. Pick-up works similarly except children are gathered in the gym and released to their cars using the signage described above.
Claire Freppon, Moyer mom, says her only complaint is those parents who try to avoid the drop-off line by just stopping in the middle of Highland Avenue “and letting their kids out anywhere”. She goes on to say, “Those cars hold up traffic more than anyone going through the loop”. Jennifer Fischer, fellow mom, agrees that it is the non-rule followers “that complain about the carline” and that they are the ones who jam it up by stopping “traffic on Highland to drop off AND pick up”.
Lauren Kilgore stresses how great it is to live in a walking city. “We walk in decent weather but I have loved the ability to drop him (her son) at the door and not get little Kate out in the cold. In the nicer weather I make it a point to walk so the people who need to use the carline (parents rushing to work, moms with a few littles in the car with them, etc.) can get through with one less car!”
Woodfill drivers are asked to enter the driveway from US 27 South, not headed North which would cause traffic to backup as drivers attempt to turn left into the driveway. The drive leads around the school to near the front where students should be dropped off by the cafeteria.
The biggest issue with this procedure seems to be along US 27 and not the line itself. Laura Hamblin, Woodfill mom, said “My husband came home from work early today and sat in Woodfill traffic on 27 southbound for 14 minutes. He was livid and glad he wasn't trying to pick someone up!” Kara Uhl (FTM Contributor), like Kilgore, is “looking forward to the better weather when [she] can walk again.”
So, moral of the story is spring cannot arrive soon enough! But given the 6-10 inches of snow allegedly falling as we speak, you may just have to do your best in those carlines for a bit longer.