the IT city, the I.T. Baby


Managing your kid pickups in traffic nightmare city

Google Calendar multi-calendar scheduleI live in Nashville. It’s called the IT city at the moment because businesses have flocked here and so have people who consider a 700sq ft half a million dollar house cheap.

Unfortunately that’s been growth to the tune of 100 people a day give or take and Nashville now has a lot more people on the roads than it has space for.

Right now I’ve got one child I pick up from kindergarten. We had to do school choice/the lotto because our zoned school scored a 1 out of 10 and that may have been inflating the grade from what I’ve heard. As such there’s no busing or transportation.

My kindergartener has three days of after school activity, each ending at a different time and two “normal” days. This gives me a window of nearly 1.5 hours each day and the traffic is completely unpredictable.

Two days ago one of the interstates shut down because a crew spilled some sealant on a bridge. This, combined with construction on another interstate lead all the traffic to get off and flood the backroads. This is a common occurance now. I either get there 20 minutes early and wait in 99 degree heat, or I get there 10 minutes late and my kindergartener is waiting in 99 degree heat.

Or I forget what day it is and show up an hour and a half early and kill time at the Army Surplus store.

So I found a solution. If you’re on Android this should work out of the box, if you’re on iOS you’ve probably got something similar, or maybe this works for you too.

Solution: Google Calendar… EXTREME

We’ll get how this helps with traffic in a minute, but first I mapped out the weeks of after school activities Maggie has and placed notification events to pop up at my normal pickup time to let me know it’s NOT time to go.

All of these events had a start and end date and repeated once a week. I could have probably done the 3 events as two calendar events (as two of them end at the same time,) however since I wanted to know every day where she was going I made three. I put these on the family calendar.

Next, I made three pickup events on my calendar. These are the events that tell me when it’s time to go. Two of them are at the same time for club days, two are at the same time for non-club days, and one is for the day that ends at a different time.

In each of these pickup events, and here’s the traffic compensation portion, I added an address. Google alerts me on my phone when it’s time to go based on traffic. If there’s a backup or a car crash I get notified early. If I’m notified early I pop open Navigation and figure out what my new suggested route is.

Should be noted that this may require installing Google Maps as well, so if you’re on one of the rare no-google-included Androids (Amazon, OP, etc) you may have to download Calendar, services, and Maps.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.