Sunday, March 20, 2011
Need for new urban design--neighborhood schools
This week, News-Press is hosting a community forum on school choice, transportation, and neighborhood schools and its Sunday Opinion page focused on the issue. Below is a letter to the editor that focuses on the real issue--the need for new urban design of our neighborhoods.
News-Press Letters to Editor, Sunday March 20, 2011
New urban design
A beautiful city is one consisting of neighborhoods where children can "safely" walk or bike to school. Think of the nearest school to your home, would you want your child to walk to it alone or with a group of friends?
Having grown up in Lee County, I can think of only a few schools where a safe walk is currently possible: Edison Park, Fort Myers High School, Allen Park or Villas Elementary. But what about those students of Pine Manor who must boldly cross U.S. 41 daily at dawn's hours?
If we want neighborhood schools, then we need more neighborhoods. We need streets that are smaller and easier to cross: fewer lanes, more streets. We need more connections, fewer cul-de-sacs, more transportation choice and less traffic.
Without well-designed neighborhoods, students will still require buses to arrive at even the closest of schools to their home. This issue is bigger than the Lee County School District. It requires a cohesive urban design effort across Lee County.