Thursday, October 2, 2014

New School on Portland Road Reason to Consider Full Multi-Modal Connections

Today the North Gateway Redevelopment Advisory Board meets and on the agenda is the technical school currently in process as a joint venture between the School District and Mountain West.

It's a strip mall office building, very car-dependent
The agreed-upon site is on Portland Road, at 3501, in a former Neilsen Manufacturing Inc., building.

The stroad-y site, set back from Portland Road, via the google
It's actually very near the intersection with Bill Frey Drive and the Kroc Center, about two blocks south of the traffic light.

But it is significant that a new high school would be sited on Portland Road in a pretty car-dependent area. As a kind of magnet school rather than a neighborhood school, it may not be as important to be able to walk and bike to it, regrettably - but it should be well served by transit.

Cherriots' Proposed Service Map
In Cherriots' new proposed service levels, route D on Portland Road looks to offer buses every 30 minutes. (The arrow shows the approximate location of the school.) But while the Portland Road route is a fine enough spoke from the downtown hub, there isn't much in the way of cross-town connections from nearby neighborhoods.

And of course walking and biking is not pleasant here.

This new institution is a strong reason to think Portland Road should be modernized for full multi-modal travel. (Previous notes here and here.)

The School District and the City have not so far done much in the way of investment or coordination in school siting. This is not the most propitious candidate to change that pattern. Still, there's an opportunity here, especially with the debate over urban renewal funds and the "full boulevard" concept on Portland Road.

The North Gateway Redevelopment Advisory Board meets today, Thursday the 2nd, at 8:00 AM in the Center 50+, Classroom A, 2615 Portland Road NE.

(Yesterday there were questions about having a quorum, so it is possible the meeting will be postponed.)


Walker said...

The dead SJ plant would be ideal for a tech ed program, right next to the transit mall, near lunch options and even the other alt-HS program.

Jason Cox said...

We did meet (I'm on the advisory board), and were told kids would be bused from their home high schools to the CTE high school. That said (and I'm theorizing here), some may want to walk or bike, and may want to leave campus for lunch.

A modern Portland Road should be a place that serves the neighborhood, and to me that includes solid pedestrian and bike infrastructure. How great would it be for a family to be able to walk/bike safely (and enjoy it!) from their homes to local businesses and back?