Sunday, March 26, 2006

The cheapest land in Mountain View

Q: Where you can rent space for nine months at $3 per 200 sq. feet?

A: Mountain View High School, which sells an unlimited number of parking permits to its students at the cost of printing the things. Los Altos isn't much different, charging students $20 for permits. The lots themselves cost more than that to maintain, even if you don't count the cost of building them.

I haven't done any GIS maps yet to prove it statistically (volunteers welcome), but it appears that our local high schools are giving away valuable public land to a select group of students: those whose parents can afford for them to drive. I suspect this is more visible at LAHS, which so far has been unwilling to hand over certain information that would shed light on this. The records from MVHS show at least half a dozen students who have parking permits at Mountain View despite living within half a mile of the school. Some live only a quarter mile away.

I'm not suggesting those students should be restricted from buying parking permits. It just seems something is wrong with the system when they do. Yet the school doesn't see it that way, and defends its policy of subsidizing driving while doing next to nothing for students who walk, bike or take the bus. From a recent Voice story:
"We don't have any control over that," said Superintendent Rich Fischer, who explained at a recent community meeting that schools are powerless when it comes to changing student driving habits.
Good thing he wasn't president during the Civil War, or we might still have slavery.

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