Post-June meeting UPDATE, June 30, 2023:

Emerson Academy withdraws its most recent plan to decongest Hickory Street traffic, will resubmit a previous plan

Thanks to those who attended our June 27 meeting to share their experiences and recommendations, guests Jeff Chamberlain, Dir of Real Estate for National Heritage Academies; Ariane Johnson, Principal of Emerson Academy and Tony Kroeger, City of Dayton Planning and Land Use have decided to withdraw a plan that would expand the Hickory Street parking lot onto their front lawn.

Instead, they will pursue the use of Buckeye Street and the current bus turn-around at the east edge of Burns-Jackson Park, similar to the picture below.

While this picture is not their final plan, it’s the one members voted to reconsider, as it moves the parent dropoff/pickup traffic from Hickory to Buckeye. In this previous plan, Emerson was considering having only the waiting school buses along Hickory or inside their Hickory parking lot.

Emerson Academy will work with the City and return with another plan for South Park’s input.

ORIGINAL POST on June 21, 2023:
Emerson Academy, the City of Dayton, and Historic South Park Inc. invite neighbors to share feedback on Emerson’s proposed plan for student pickup/dropoff. Please attend our June 27 meeting to hear the details, ask questions and give your input.

Guests include Jeff Chamberlain, Dir. of Real Estate for National Heritage Academies; Ariane Johnson, Principal of Emerson Academy; City of Dayton staff members.

Emerson Academy (501 Hickory between Perrine and Bonner) will propose its latest plan (above) to keep stopped/standing vehicles off Hickory during student pickup/dropoff hours. The City will be present to monitor the neighborhood’s reaction/feedback. Please note that the retaining wall behind Emerson’s west parking lot is collapsing, removing a third of their parking.




HSPI MEETING: Tuesday, June 27, 2023, 7-8 pm, Hope Lutheran Church (500 Hickory, enter from the parking lot). Mini-social and informal discussions follow adjournment.

For years, neighbors on the north side of the neighborhood – either along Hickory Street or within a block – have dealt with the frustrating and often dangerous traffic situation on Hickory Street in the morning and afternoon during the school year.

An ongoing problem waiting for a definitive solution

The speeding, the sideswipes to neighbors’ legally parked vehicles, the stopped traffic from Bonner Street backing up all the way to Wayne Avenue that blocks neighbors’ entrance and exits to their homes seem to have gotten worse as the Dayton Public School bus system is less and less reliable. Parents have no option but to drive their children to and from Emerson.

Emerson has gone to great lengths to try and move as many as 62 cars through its westside parking lot’s pickup and drop off point, using many parent volunteers to direct traffic flow. Yet it hasn’t been enough.

To add to the charter school’s challenges, the retaining wall holding up the parking lot is failing, and must be removed, leaving their lot with about a third less capacity.

Over the years, since its founding in 2004, Emerson’s enrollment increased – which is a good thing – and the traffic has become more congested, and drivers seem less patient and more reckless as they leave South Park for work or home – a not so good thing.

Ask the neighbors who have had their parked cars hit, in some cases more than once, or those who’ve been blocked in by stopped vehicles along Hickory, unable to exit the neighborhood for work during 7:30am and 2:30pm.

School traffic, typically 62 cars a day, backed up along Hickory to Wayne Avenue. Vehicles also wait for children in Hope’s lot, and along Perrine and Bonner Streets (not shown).




The bus turnaround at Buckeye, a fast-flowing underutilized neighborhood street north of Emerson

For as long as traffic has been a headache for neighbors, South Parkers have been proposing that both bus and parent pickup/drop-offs happen on Buckeye Street along the north side of Emerson. (see image above).

The school listened and has explored and presented drawings centered on moving all school traffic to Buckeye. It’s also considered using Burns Avenue (a street that dead-ends at Burns-Jackson Park). However, that’s not the plan they decided to present at our June 27 meeting.

The essence of the proposed plan

“While I believe the neighborhood is fortunate that a successful K-8 school has made its home here, our 150+ years old streets weren’t designed for modern car traffic. They were designed for an era when children walked to school.

“We simply can’t handle this much congestion on Hickory,” says Mark Manovich, President of the Historic South Park neighborhood council.

“Per the drawing they’ve presented, it looks to me like they plan to tear out the lawn, landscaping and mature trees in front of their historic building and replace it with a driveway. That’s not an acceptable proposal.

“The Emerson parents would still use Hickory Street to enter and exit South Park, which is our whole problem.

“The neighborhood has underutilized land between the school and non-historic Buckeye Street which is the more sensible place to direct the cars for both drop off and pick up.

“Finally, the current plan doesn’t address the school buses. Will they be on Hickory or Buckeye?”

Please attend the July 27th meeting and share your thoughts

Will “paving over paradise to put up a parking lot” fix the problems, frustrations, accidents South Parkers currently experience along Hickory Street?

Please attend the meeting and give your opinion. If you cannot attend, please email your opinion to: [email protected] and we will share it at the meeting on your behalf.

Date/Time/Place: Tues, July 27, 7pm at Hope Lutheran Church.