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Open letter about schools in North Bethany

Posted by Peter W on July 18, 2007

This was sent to the North Bethany planning team.

Hello,

I am curious if the North Bethany plan will help ensure that more people bike and walk to schools in the area? In terms of the plan, it’s very important that schools be well integrated into neighborhoods and that there are very low maximum parking limits, and as much as possible of the parking should be integrated with the neighborhood as on-street parking.

Besides helping kids get healthy, walking or biking will help reduce traffic a great deal; it has been estimated that up to 25% (!) of morning and afternoon traffic is due to parents dropping off or picking up their kids.

Here is another pretty sad statistic:

“In 2001, 16 percent of students between the ages of 5 and 15 walked or bicycled to or from school.

In 1969, 42 percent of students walked or bicycled to school.”

It only takes 5-10 minutes for kids to walk a quarter mile or bike one mile. The entire N. Bethany site is only a bit more than a mile wide, and Beaverton School District is planning 3 elementary schools and possibly a high school.

Please let me know what the status of this is. Thanks.

Just to clarify – the reason for putting parking on the street instead of a parking lot is that:

  1. Neighborhood streets usually have enough room for car parking anyway, so you might as well use it
  2. Parking lots do a good job of separating the school from the neighborhood it is in
  3. Parallel parking on streets around a school is slightly less convenient than a parking lot, and reduces the temptation to drive while still providing for people who have to drive.

I didn’t mention it in the letter, but I got the quotes and numbers from a talking points document from the International Walk to School in the USA group.

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