Arlignton County School Board officials are increasing the proposed bike parking at the new Wakefield High School from 40 spaces to 304.
It is a large number,” noted William O’Connor, who is leading the team planning for the new school.
O’Connor acknowledged that “the demand is not there” for so many spaces at the moment, but he borrowed from an old movie in suggesting that, “if we build them, they may come.”
The spaces, some of them covered, would not all be built at once, but likely would be phased in over time. In addition to racks for students, there would be a 22-space area for faculty members and other staff to securely store their bikes during the school day.
The decision to propose more bike spaces seemed to please some School Board members.
“I’m glad to see all those bike racks,” said chairman Sally Baird, noting that the South Arlington school sits near a number of bike trails.
In the comments, many people seem to think this is a bad idea, that biking is just far too dangerous for children to be doing on cracked and potholed streets during rush hour.
Biking to school at rush hour would seem a little more than foolish for most kids - and these are CHILDREN. Unless all parking is banned on these routes, and safe bicycle lanes are created, I wouldn't allow my child to bicycle to school - and I'm an old cranky, stick in the mud who used to walk to school in 3 feet of snow......
These are children, NOT adults who may be more experienced bikers. There is a BIG difference. Step out of the biking shoes and take a moment to walk in a thirteen year olds shoes...
One person seems to think it's a corrupt one too.
The bike garages and lots are a payoff to the special interest bike lobby that has no real benefit or return for the students or the taxpayer.
Primary routes for biking to Wakefield are (1) the long, steep (and sweaty) climb up from the Walter Reed Dr. Corridor, (2) pedaling down George Mason Dr. where you take your life into your hands biking between Columbia Pike and Four Mile Run, or (3) fighting traffic cutting through on a narrow, twisting, hilly Frederick Street from the west end of Columbia Pike.
The limited number bike riders is indication of the sanity and common sense of today's high school student -- not a lack of upscale parking spaces.
Arlington cyclists respond
Bicycling to Wakefield High School--even via the roadways cited--is neither difficult nor dangerous, and the vast majority of Wakefield students and many faculty and staff could feasibly bike to Wakefield at least part of the time.
Since at least 10 bicycles can easily be parked within the space needed to park a single auto, the cost to provide the bike parking is trivial in relation to both the total project cost and the cost to provide the auto parking, and the bike racks could even reduce project costs if just a few auto parking spaces are eliminated.
As far as I know, the "special interest bike lobby" is nothing more than ordinary Arlington citizens, students, parents, and school employees who support making bicycling a viable transportation option for its health, enjoyment, mobility, energy-saving, environmental, and traffic benefits.
To encourage all forms of alternative commuting by Wakefield employees, the school system should locate Zip cars at Wakefield for emergency and other midday use by employees. These Zip cars could continue to serve nearby residents on evenings and weekends.
No Wakefield student would be forced to bike to school. Arlington Public Schools already offers bicycling education as part of Physical Education at the middle and high school levels, and this program can and should be expanded. If nothing else, sound bicycling education programs result in better young motorists.
Anyone who feels that cycling on the very streets discussed by the other poster is unduly dangerous should familiarize themselves with the literature on the subject. Long story short, the risks associated with cycling are on par with driving; except that cycling provides the additional benefits of exercise.
Regardless, the additional bike parking takes up little space and would take few resources to implement. Notice that the present plan intends on providing the parking incrementally