Part two of posts on the parkway trail; Parkway trail low points.
When the parkway trail has been flooded this year, all the way back into December but increasingly this spring, Sacramento Regional Parks has closed various segments, and even the entire parkway at times. This is understandable. The trail is, after all, in a riparian area, and what defines riparian areas is an abundance of water.
Regional Parks has posted some information about the trail on their website, particularly as more and more of the trail has been closed, and is up-to-date with a complete closure now. In December and early January the website information was frequently out-of-date. Their Twitter account has had somewhat better information about the parkway, but it focuses mostly on motor vehicle access and not on trail access and usability.
Parts of the trail are quite usable right now, but rather than addressing those parts, all of the trail is closed.
Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) is considering the closure of 10 elementary schools which are well below capacity due to declining enrollment, in order to save money on facilities and staff. While I certainly sympathize with the need to reduce costs in the face of declining enrollment, I think that SCUSD is failing to consider several factors in making this decision. Let me say that many school districts are facing the same challenge; SCUSD is just the current example, and I am not trying to pick on them. I live within SCUSD but work in another school district; I do not have children, but have been an education professional for much of the last 39 years.
There have been a number of articles in the local media about the closures, but the SacBee article on Sunday, January 27 provides a level of detail and addresses several of the challenges.
Why is this a transportation issue? Closure of these schools will eliminate 10 neighborhood schools, which children can by and large now walk or bicycle to. True, many of the students don’t, but they could. In most cases they will not be able to walk and bike to their new school, due to increased distance and the need to cross busy arterial streets. The change will therefore greatly increase the rate of parents driving their children to school at the remaining schools. More congestion and air pollution, and less safety for the students who do walk and bike. I will clearly state two premises:
Right-sized neighborhood schools have a strong social value that must be weighed along with other considerations.
All children should be able to walk and bike to school, at least at the elementary level.