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An open letter to the IPS Board regarding School #58

IPS School #58

IPS School #58

If you are one of the few who have followed my writing, then you know I penned a fairly strong blog on my own site (follow the link to read) a number of months ago when it was announced that IPS was aiming to sieze property adjacent to IPS School #58 on the east side of Indy. It caused an uproar with urban enthusiasts here in the city for good reason. First off, siezing people’s homes so that a parking lot could be constructed is sacreligous for an urbanist. Not to mention all the associated downfalls of this from environmental water issues, to the social implications as well as taking 7 paying properties off the tax roll in the neighborhood.

I sent a fairly terse letter to the IPS school board at that time and recieved a reply from Annie Roof, who was one of the discenting voters when this issue was posed to the board at the time. She thanked me for my input and asked that I attend the public meeting that will be held regarding this issue. Well folks, the time has come and tonight is that meeting. It will be in the Board Room of the John Morton-Finney Center for Educational Services, 120 E. Walnut St. Unfortunately, I will not be attending since my Calculus grade is pretty important and I have a quiz tonight. However, I will be sending another letter to the board that closely resembles what follows after this paragraph.

I wanted to take this space to highlight a few things that IPS could do when it decides to finally send the shovels to IPS #58. Instead of mowing down homes in an act reminiscent of the interstate construction days of the 1950′s these suggestions offer alternatives that are considered socially responsible, urban in nature and altogether a better use of the land available to IPS #58.

Fresh Market Parking Entrance

Fresh Market Parking Entrance

First off, if IPS is going to add some facilities to the property where the parking lot currently exists, they should look at 54th & College Ave in our own community. There lies the relatively new Fresh Market. It is a new supermarket that was constructed in a space with many of the same constraints facing school #58; namely how do we find parking for our peoples? What they did was innovative for Indianapolis. The first part of their construction was to build the super structure in a way that would accomodate rooftop parking. In essense a parking garage on top of the building. The footprint of the Fresh market is roughly that of the parking lot adjacent to school #58 and it appears that there are between 40-50 parking spots on the roof of their facility. IPS could look at the same way to accomodate teachers parking on top of a new structure that they wish to build on the existing parking lot.

Fresh Market (via google maps)

Fresh Market (via google maps)

Next, the loading and unloading of buses. This appear to be done in an alleyway on the east side of the school. A simple way to make loading and unloading safer, would be to move this to the west side of the school, along Linwood and directly onto the sidewalk in front of the school doors. The current parking setup along Linwood, places cars along the west side so that southbound drivers can park. Changes could be made that moved the allowable parking along Linwood to be on the eastside of the street, so that northbound drivers could use parking along the curb. Mark off the area directly in front of the school as bus only parking and call it good. Since buses unload on their right side anyway, students would depart the bus directly onto the school’s property.

Proposed Bus Loading/Unloading Zone at IPS #58

Proposed Bus Loading/Unloading Zone at IPS #58

These two suggestions both represent one tried and true method of solving parking that is currently at work within our community, and another that represents decades worth of practice in unloading children at schools. Both accomodate what IPS wishes to accomplish with #58 and avoids the social, environmental and tax zapping elements with the currently proposed process of dealing with the current facilities of IPS #58.

3 Responses to “ “An open letter to the IPS Board regarding School #58”

  1. AJ says:

    Thanks for suggesting creative alternatives to the tear down and build new mentality that is so prevalent. I noticed that there appears to have been a fire in one of the houses across Linwood from school #58 — this is not one of the properties IPS had proposed to expand onto, but if the damage is not repairable maybe they should look to reuse it instead.

  2. Chris Barnett says:

    The IndyStar article this morning suggested expansion across the street, taking the burned-out house mentioned above.

    Another suggestion is a playground on the roof of the expanded school structure!

    Now that’s urban, as those of us who’ve lived in the big East Coast cities will attest, and it has the advantage of requiring less superstructure than car parking.

    I’m glad IPS is talking to the neighbors, though I think it might have been good to have the meeting tonight at the school…

  3. Kirsten says:

    Not to be a downer about exploring alternative parking – I’m all about that! – but the neighborhood appears to use the street in front of the school for parking, as well. While taking away homes is worse than taking away parking, I’m hoping for a solution that takes neighborhood parking into account, as well.

    Also: Yes, Chris, a roof playground is a surprising & exciting idea!

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