Construction to alter campus bike and car parking
by Lizzie Chun
Published October 1, 2013
While the many ongoing construction projects at Palo Alto High School will eventually transform the campus in a positive manner, temporary changes to the car and bike parking areas will be challenging for students and family, according to bond program manager Tom Hodges.
Members of the Facilities Steering Committee discussed potential plans for new parking and drop-off areas during the construction of the new gym and Performing Arts Center at a meeting held Sept. 25. The athletics facilities construction is set to commence in June 2014, and the Performing Arts Center construction will begin before the end of this school year, according to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson.
The proposed temporary drop-off area will consist of two pathways: one onto campus for pedestrians getting dropped off, and the other an asphalt bike lane that will continue to a temporary bike parking area in front of the Haymarket Theater and adjacent loggia, according to Hodges.
Bike parking spaces by the senior deck will be lost during the Performing Arts Center construction and relocated to different areas around campus, according to Hodges.
“Our strategy for the next three years is putting bike racks just about anywhere we can until we can … come back to some of our more permanent parking areas,” Hodges said.
Hodges’ suggestions for new bike rack locations include by the social studies and math buildings, behind the media arts center, and between the Haymarket Theater and the Tower Building.
Others ideas such as placing bike racks by the current math portables and arts building were also considered at the meeting. Additionally, math teacher Arne Lim suggested turning the empty social studies building into a temporary parking room. However, the building will be used as library storage during library renovation, according to Principal Kim Diorio. Library renovations will begin after the athletics facilities construction is finished, according to Berkson.
Berkson also said that bike parking by the gym may be affected during the science classroom renovations.
The duration of the Performing Arts Center construction project will depend on the weather and when the projects will begin but is estimated to be 18 to 20 months, according to Hodges.
About one third of car parking by the gym, which mainly consists of staff and maintenance parking, will be lost during the new gym construction, according to Hodges. However, Berkson said these parking spaces will eventually be regained in the back of the school.
Plans were also made to redirect traffic into the front office parking lot during construction on the Performing Arts Center. When entering from Embarcadero Road, the procedure will be to turn right immediately and continue into a new drop-off zone, according to Hodges.
Hodges also said the parking lot will be restriped with new delineations, allowing cars to circle around the lot with more ease.
There was some opposition raised against the proposed bike parking plans on the current lawn area by the Haymarket Theater.
“That [the lawn space] would be the last place on my list for the bike parking lot,” FSC member Anne Anderson said. “That’s the view of the big date palm, the arcade and the side of the Tower Building; kids get their senior portraits taken out there … and the whole place is going to be in upheaval.”
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting on stories.