A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

For Liberty, less lawn and more parking

Written May 19th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

There will be a “parent loop” roughly where the  school’s “Liberty Garden” is now.

The Albany planning division has invited public comment before issuing a conditional use permit for an expansion of the parking lot at Liberty School. It’s hard to see the point since the school board has already awarded a construction contract for the work.

The city notified property owners within 300 feet of the project at 2345 Liberty St. S.W. The comment deadline is May 28.

This is one of the smaller items in the Greater Albany Public Schools’ $187 million construction program launched after voters approved a $159 million bond issue in May 2017.

The paving job at Liberty calls for replacing the school’s 14-space parking lot with a bigger one — the drawings show 33 spaces — and a “parent loop” for pupils to be dropped off and picked up. The intent is to lessen traffic congestion on 24th Avenue. (See this story from February 2018.)

The school board awarded the construction contract to River Bend Materials on April 22. The company’s bid of $324,995 was the lowest of four.

A plan of the new parking lot and parent loop was included with the city’s public notice. Check it out here.

The new parking lot will wipe out the lawn and “Liberty Garden” in front of the school. The upside: Less grass to mow. And the GAPS website shows that for its garden, Liberty already has found another spot. (hh)

The present parking lot is to the right of the fence.

12 responses to “For Liberty, less lawn and more parking”

  1. Jason says:

    That would be nice as the parents picking up their kids think the road is a parking lot.

  2. Lundy says:

    Hasso, do you know what percentage of Albany students are driven to school by their parents?

  3. J. Jacobson says:

    We used to walk to school and it was uphill both ways, never mind the fact that we were barefoot, walking in deep snow and broken glass. And they never called school off back then.

    • centrist says:

      Yeah but
      “commute” distance was smaller for most. The one auto took the male to work. Everybody else walked.
      It did have to be pretty bad to call off school. Folks could walk when driving was impossible.
      ‘Course that might just be a fractured memory fogged by too much TV and insufficient walking………

    • Albany YIMBY says:

      There is a community of parents that is trying to bring that back. It’s called LetGrow and they have a National web page. It’s totally a cultural thing based on unfounded fearmongering about our kids safety.

      I’ve seen kids riding their bikes to school in Europe for 2-3 km to school at 7am mixed with traffic.

      But you know, instead of making easier for our kids to be independent and self-reliant, we spend half a million to build a parking lot. With that money you could create a network of safe routes for kids to be able to walk or cycle to school. That’s the society we live in…

    • HowlingCicada says:

      Another vote for kids walking to school. When I was in 9th grade, I took a city bus 5 miles and then walked the remaining one mile (no hills, no snow, good shoes). I remember the exhilaration of the morning walk with great fondness.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        I’ll suggest that most of us – of a certain age – also have similar memories. However, those days are gone – and will never be coming back — unless you live in very-very rural areas.

        • Albany YIMBY says:

          Why Ray?

          Our society is safer now that it used to be in the 60s, that’s a fact you can easily check. Kids in urban areas are perfectly fine walking or riding their bikes like they do in Germany, the UK or Sweden, with worse climate there than in Oregon. We just need to spend some money making our streets safer for pedestrians, educating drivers that pedestrians have priority, and limiting right turn on red.

          I would say that rural schools is where they actually need buses because there are greater distances to school.

          • Ray Kopcaynski says:

            “Our society is safer now that it used to be in the 60s, that’s a fact you can easily check.”

            All matter of perception – and by what metric do you say society is “safer?”

            Growing up in the 50s & 60s, we did not have the rampant/rabid paranoia being foisted on us daily. That said, there was a huge “blip” with the Cuban Missile crisis was going on. I was in Jr. High in Auburn, WA at the time. Us 3 kids had multiple “drills” to walk home (1+ mile) and very specific duties to get ready for a pending attack: fill bathtub with water, gather mattresses and place in supposedly strategic areas of the house, etc. That was paranoia with basis in fact.

  4. nancyM. says:

    Probably too many “perv’s” schlossing around anymore. Tragic news
    of extreme violence permeates the news every hour of every day.
    Resultant obese children strapped to their phones, depressed, scarred
    no verbal interaction anymore or physical exercise. We have brought
    this on ourselves with internet society.

  5. DeeDee Biegel says:

    I taught at Liberty Elementary School from 2014-2017. I noticed every day how many cars were lined in the street in front of the school to pick up their children from school. Many times the small parking lot for staff was blocked by the carpool line in the street. I thought it was ridiculous for that many cars to be stopped on a main city street for at least 30 minutes or more each day. Hopefully the “parent loop” will eliminate most, if not all, of the cars in the street at the end of the school day. In addition, I’m so glad to see the small parking lot is going to be enlarged and improved, which it has been in need of, so that staff can have an appropriate place to park with ease of getting out at the end of the day.


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