Letters to the Editor

Lakota, you have a parking problem | Federal Way letters

I was so pleased to read Nandell Palmer’s piece about the Lakota Middle School parking problem Feb. 2. I intended to write a letter of support, but before I got around to it, I saw the two letters disagreeing with him.

I have a child at Lakota’s Cambridge program. I love the program and the beautiful new building. Because we “choice in,” we have to drive her there. However, we are in a carpool with two other families, and would add more if we could. We deal with the melee of rushing parents every day, and I don’t see that many parents picking up more than one child.

I plan to suggest a carpool connection for parents. We could all get in and out faster if more people would carpool, but it can be hard to find people, especially if you are a choice student. When they rebuilt the school last year, I was certain they would improve the student drop-off situation and add more parking. I could not believe it when we got there this year and it was not better.

There is a lot of green space on the property, but are the kids even going to use it? Also, with the new long walkway, they have to walk a long way to the parking lot and that also slows down the process, with parents waiting longer to pick up. They could have easily designed a more efficient drop-off area, and still had green space left to spare. That grass looks pretty, but the carbon the cars spew while waiting around counteracts any environmental benefits.

The parking situation is even worse than the turnaround. There are fewer spots than they need for an event attended only by families of, say, the seventh grade Cambridge kids. The local neighborhood is not designed to handle the extra cars, and it is dark at night. After my husband gets back from his carpool commute, maybe in time to attend a 6 p.m. event, and we put our four kids in the car to go to Lakota, there is never a way to park the car there. This adds a lot of stress and decreases enjoyment of the activity we are attending.

I am an efficient user of resources, recycling everything I can, running errands in the best order to save gas, and always carpooling for everything possible. I care about the environment deeply. I am annoyed at the suggestion that this is an opportunity to conserve resources, or get more exercise. They didn’t design it that way for those reasons. They did it because of poor planning.

People who are psyched to walk several blocks more than expected when attending a school event do not have a baby, a cello, a physical disability, an elderly guest, or a schedule. I know you can drop off people and go park, but that is not always easy, especially if there is only one adult familiar with the school, and you don’t want to send your 12-year-old off in the dark by herself.

I have wondered if the bus area could be better marked, with more parking spots for the nighttime events, and signs clearly stating that they are only for those times. It is a large piece of property, and I am sure they could do better. Honestly, the parking and turnaround are the worst aspects of Lakota, and that does say a lot about the otherwise high-quality school.

Jenifer Plank, Federal Way

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