By William Tauro
(Candidate for Mayor William “Billy”Tauro proposes 275 parking spaces for new Somerville High School.)
From a press release sent out on the new Somerville High School by the city it clearly reads: “The new building is designed for 1,590 students, which includes capacity for 1,515 students within Somerville High School and 75 students for the Next Wave / Full Circle schools. It’s roughly 396,000 square feet, compared to the old school, which totaled 360,000 square feet.”
The press release also reads: “The new high school was designed to support a wide range of teaching and learning methodologies, expanding educational opportunities for students and preparing them for future success in college and the workforce.”
And it reads this as well: “The six-story, 396,000-square-foot building features 14 specialized learning spaces for each of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, 12 science labs, three art rooms, three music rooms, a multilevel media center, a fully renovated gymnasium, a collegiate-style lecture hall, outdoor learning and dining areas, and state-of-the-art technology throughout. Large exposures bring in natural light and create connections with the surrounding environment.”
So with all that said, my question now is, where are all of these teachers and faculty that have to teach 1,590 students going to park? Building a building that is designed with zero parking spaces for teachers, faculty nor students wasn’t very good planning. Building a building that is designed with zero parking spaces is called using lack of common sense. How does this current mayor and city Council really expect over 150 teachers to commute to work, park and teach 1,590 students on a daily basis without anywhere to park?
We are now also hearing that one side of Highland Avenue will lose all it’s parking due to another bus and bike lane project that is proposed for the very near future by this mayor and city Council. So my $64,000 question again is, where are these teachers and people going to park?
My staff and I took a tour of the new high school just days of it’s opening. The tour was being led by a teacher who volunteered to walk us through the gymnasium. I asked the teacher “Where do you park your vehicle when you come to work?” He replied to me “You don’t!” Then he immediately replied to me that “I just got my first $50 parking ticket yesterday and if I get one more ticket I am quitting this job.”
That is the major problem here that the mindset of this administration and the city Council about the people who work, live and play in this city are not focused on the reality of real life. Their mindset is selfishly and completely based upon how they would love to live in an automobile free city with no parking. But sorry it’s not going to happen under my watch. My mindset is that if I can’t drive there, I will not do business there. I’m sorry but that’s just the way I think and that’s just the way real life is. If elected mayor of Somerville, I propose to bulldoze the front lawn of the new Somerville high school and replace it with a 275 car parking lot. I plan on doing this on my first 100 days and furthermore I will ask Tufts University to foot the bill for this emergency and drastically needed construction project. I think it’s a great idea and I also think that it will give Tufts University a great opportunity to become a bigger part of our community even more than they are already.
By offering this proposal and Tufts University agreeing to this project, it indeed helps build a bond to serve urgent pandemic needs to start welcoming highest needs and younger students first as well as thinking of our teachers who will be hard at work, with less stress on their minds about where are they going to park everyday to teach our youth.