We often get photographs and tips from our Bungalower readers of things that are happening around town, so we have started featuring them on the site in a series called “Eyes on the Street,” in honor of our favorite urbanist Jane Jacobs.
“The private school wants full ownership of the public bike/pedestrian facilities just one block off Robinson. The school is claiming safety issues, but the City isn’t closing down Robinson for the Howard Middle School students that cross the street every day to access the track! Lake Highland Prep isn’t shutting down Highland St. for their use. It is an overreach and hurts the Complete Streets mantra the bungalow neighborhoods need to thrive. “– TIM HAYES
A community meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 21, to discuss an application by St. James Cathedral School (Website) to take over a public right-of-way along Ridgewood Street in Lake Eola Heights.
The private school blocked off a section of Ridgewood Street between Hillman Avenue and Cathcart Avenue in 1996 from vehicular traffic. The City of Orlando maintained rights for pedestrians and bicycles to continue to use the right-of-way on the street as a way to pass through the school campus. Still, the school is now asking the City to abandon the easement in an effort to “protect its students.”
The catholic school currently serves children from Pre-K3 through 8th grade.
In paperwork filed with the City of Orlando, the school states that there has been a “significant increase in incidents of school violence since 1996.” And that the easements being open to the public makes it impossible for the school to secure its campus, stating, “SJCS feels that the health, safety, and general welfare of the children that attend the school is of greater import than retaining the bicycle and pedestrian easements,” and they are asking the city to allow them to completely close the street to the public so it can be fully integrated into their property.
The property currently has a Future Land Use designation of Residential Medium Intensity.
The public meeting is scheduled for 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, February 21, at the St. James Cathedral School Cafeteria, at 505 E. Ridgewood Street [GMap].
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If the School has outgrown its current location, buy/rent a new location to better fit the need of its student body. If parents are so worried about student safety, they also can choose a new school to attend that better fits their safety needs. Choices, not demanding that we close access to a public road that we already cannot access via vehicle.
Public sidewalk, public access. Look for ways to move students safely within the school/church property if there are concerns. Look for ways to protect students within the school facility if you are worried about safety from the public who pay taxes. Look for ways to help the community rather than restrict public sidewalks. What specific safety concerns are there?
This is a Private school not a Public school. Sorry private business do not have the right to take away public property, especially a religious organization that does not pay taxes. If this situation is not working for them because “times have changed “they need to fix it just like any other private business would have to.
Now they are using safety as a reason? Ask then why they let parents drop kids off inside the school and leave the doors open wide open in the mornings. The lack of security at the school has nothing to do with the sidewalk being open. Former Parent
Your comparisons are not valid. St J students are not walking across the street to access a track or sports field. They have classroom buildings on both sides of the road. Students walk between the two buildings all day going to and from classes. It used to be an open campus, but unfortunately as we see in the news everyday – times have changed. Elizabeth’s comment is spot on. School safety should be our community’s number one priority.
The church wants City Owned Property and they don’t even pay taxes. That is rich.
I find it sad that we consider an open school the root problem. What will they say about our society in a history class 40 years from now? Oh wait, they would be allowed to have a history class 40 years from now! Disregard previous thought, lock it down!
has anyone considered compromising and only blocking it off during school hours…
has anyone considered maybe just blocking it off for public use during school hours….
You should look at the 4 streets between Edgewater and Westmoreland that are blocked off due to traffic and parking issues from 20 years ago. Remeber the Orena? It’s gone and so are the traffic and parking issues affecting those streets.
No surprises here.
It’s so sad this is even up for debate. Childhood safety on a school campus should be a priority over people walking through the campus with easy access to elementary and middle school kids. Do better Orlando!
Bull hockey. Public sidewalk, public access.
As a parent at the school, there is a huge concern that we have an open campus. Anyone could walk on campus when the students are outside.. The school would be closed during school hours for the safety of our children and staff.
You mention LHP which is a closed campus. Howard is also closed & has a huge safety isssue with traffic backing up to a standstill on Robinson. It’s not a fair comparison.