Lakota's parking blues, part 2 | Nandell Palmer

Based on last month’s article “Lakota’s parking inconvenience doesn’t make the grade,” I have gotten a number of letters. I wish to say thank you to all the people who have expressed themselves, whether pro or con. The voice of the people is paramount.

The main reason for writing that piece was as a result of the constant complaints I received from disgruntled parents every time I showed up at an event at the school.

One particular week, I attended three events at Lakota, and the parking issue was a problem at all three functions. I caved in at the penultimate stage. Thus, another reason that spurred me into action.

My intention was never to score points at other people’s expense or to create a brouhaha out of nothing. Furthermore, I loathe playing gotcha. I sincerely wanted some answers or a remedy to the pressing parking problem. Plain and simple.

I am so elated that Audrey Germanis, construction information coordinator for the Federal Way Public Schools, was gracious enough to educate the public on this dilemma. In Germanis’ words, here’s the reasoning behind the Lakota parking in a nutshell:

“Although it does create a beautiful entrance to the building, the grassy meadow in front of the school is not there simply for looks. It was developed in response to city and state construction requirements to keep all water run-off within the building site.

“A retention pond was constructed near the entrance to hold overflow while the run-off absorbs slowly into the landscaped areas. Impervious ground (concrete and gravel) is limited by the state in any construction project, a measure that is intended to save Puget Sound’s water quality.

“We did not and do not have the option to construct parking where the meadow currently is due to these state and city requirements. To reduce the cost and disruption of moving students to another school during construction, the new building was built directly behind the old building which set it back a bit from the parking lot.

“What many people may not realize is that the number of parking spaces in Lakota’s parking lot is the same as before construction. After the start of the school year, additional parking stalls were painted at the north end of the bus loop and some handicap parking was added near the commons entrance.

“During special events, since there generally is no bus traffic, the bus parking lot is used quite efficiently to park several rows of cars. At Lakota, we’ve used all space that is available for parking.

“Special events will always trigger parking overflow into surrounding neighborhoods, not only at Lakota but at any school you look at in the district and out. We encourage parents to look for creative ways to carpool to the school, or to walk or bike.”

Now that a plausible reason is cited for this inconvenience, I will have no choice but to follow through on Germanis’ recommendation. And I mean that in a good way!

Does that demand a mea culpa on my part for writing this article? I doubt that very much. It is never above me to say I am sorry, though, whenever the need arises.

I commend Germanis, et al., for being proactive in bringing clarity to this pressing issue.

For your effort, Lakota has now exceeded its grade. Your guardianship in ironing out kinks in rumpled situations bodes well for our schools’ good standing. Bravo!

I also love this quote Germanis uses as her email tagline: “Remember, it’s not what you say. It’s what people hear.” — Frank Luntz.



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