Last week, the Morning Call had an interesting opinion piece from the forever hard-nosed Paul Carpenter about a parking situation developing over at Nitschmann Middle School. Apparently, the School District is doing some renovations at the school that will require that part of the existing parking lot is torn up and made unusable for parking.
Initially I though that Mr. Carpenter was (as he is sometimes prone to do) overreacting, but the thing just stuck in my craw. Then, I realized why. Tearing up a beautiful (and well used) rose garden to accommodate parking is just one more concession that our cities are asked to make in favor of the car. When are we going to stop and say to ourselves, hey, we are serious when we say that our community should be walkable. We are serious that walking, biking, and shared transportation should be the first things that come to mind when we are confronted by a transportation problem.
Martin Tower (and its large surface parking lots) is less than half a mile from the middle school. What is the harm in asking the teachers to walk (or if the school district wants to---run a shuttle). I walk a mile or so a day to get to and from my home to work. It keeps be slim. My grandmother walked everyday from 9th and Tilhman to 7th and Hamilton to get to her job. And, I bet a lot of the middle school kids have to walk even further to get to school. Why is it that once you become a teacher you shouldn't have to walk a mile in the kids' shoes. These are the people setting the example for how we ought to be living in our communities and that example ought to include walking for the sake of the community and health.