#30DaysOfBiking 2012: Insanity

Today is day #23 of the 2012 30 Days Of Biking challenge. I took an 18-mile ride around my area on the Giant RS930 loaner bike. I’m still trying to form an opinion on the bike, but I’m enjoying it so far — reasonably comfortable and reasonably fast (by my standards).

The following photo is only tangentially related to cycling, but it got my dander up:

The Spring Hill School District is building a new school, Wolf Creek Elementary, and there are now dirt movers and construction equipment preparing the site. Here’s how the district describes the new school:

Construction on the district’s newest elementary school, which is set to begin in March 2012, will result in a 72,000-square foot facility that can accommodate 580 students in kindergarten through grade 5. Known as Wolf Creek Elementary School, the building will be located on 14 acres at 192nd Street and Ridgeview Road, which is northwest of the Spring Hill High School campus.

Sounds great. Here’s what they’re not telling us directly: The new school will be located more than three miles outside town.

As you can see from the illustration, they envision that the vast majority of prospective students will be driven to school, either by bus or by Mom’s taxi service. There is a small housing development nearby, so perhaps a few kids will be able to walk or ride bike to school, but will the school even bother to install bike racks?

Will Ridgeview Road, which is currently a chip-sealed two-lane road, have sidewalks and bike lanes when it is expanded to carry the additional traffic load? Or will it be just another unfriendly arterial?

I’m sure that the new school will be a very nice facility, and the empty fields make it easy to lay out the school and its vast collection of parking lots just the way they want it, but does this sort of school location make any sense in an era of sharply-rising as fuel prices?

It strikes me as incredibly short-sighted, and borderline insane. I just don’t understand why Spring Hill would choose to build a new school so far from the town.

Not that Spring Hill is alone in this. There are numerous examples I’m aware of where new schools were constructed in a far-flung rural area, rather than in the town they serve.

I don’t get it…

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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