Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Tussle over Field Near McNary High Hides Committment to Autoism

When I first saw yesterday's piece on McNary High and the prospect of eminent domain, I though, Geez, the neighbors just built a lovely new church.

But that land and building isn't in play at all. Instead the conflict is over an undeveloped, empty field.

Current conditions: contested field, top center;
ball field to become parking, lower left
According to the article
The school district wants to acquire about six acres of the church's land, located on the 5300 block of River Road N in Keizer. Their plan is to move McNary's athletic fields and parking lot to address traffic and safety issues near the school's entrance on the southern side.

Officials say this is a necessity because the current setup puts students, pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and others in danger when entering or exiting the school's main parking lot.

The existing parking lots would be taken out to make way for building expansions outlined in the nearly $620 million capital-construction bond approved earlier this year and more parking would be added in other sections of the campus.
And it's a little hard to see what really is going on.

Schematic via Keizer Times

The latest plan - New parking at B

The bike map, with McNary at center (highlighted)
Why are they planning for a parking and drop-off expansion off of Chemawa? Why don't they relocate that to Sandy Drive, and use the new parcel for the cars?

Then Chemawa and Lockhaven can be refocused for students who want to walk, bike, or bus to school. Put the cars on River Road! The rhetoric about putting "students, pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and others in danger when entering or exiting the school's main parking lot" is a little dodgy, and should really be about the dangers of driving. It's the cars, not kids walking or biking, that are the problem.

So is MOAR PARKING even necessary? We should not be subsidizing and thereby inducing high school students to drive. If anything, we should be reducing parking and asking students to walk, bike, or bus more and for their parents to support this.

If the school reduced the parking subsidy, there might not be any need for the new land. Autoism is the underlying problem.

McNary is not the only school site where the District proposed to enlarge parking lots. The autoist emphasis in the site plans and concepts for the bond measure is one of its great failures.

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Yesterday the SJ reported that condemnation proceedings had started and St. Edwards was fighting:

"After refusing an offer of $1.75 million to sell a 6-acre vacant lot to Salem-Keizer Public Schools, St. Edward Catholic Church is preparing to fight the district in court."

Apparently the most recent appraisal was for $1.56M, so the School District sweetened the offer a little, but it wasn't enough.