Writer clarifies school board sidewalk decision

To the Editor:

I’m penning this editorial for clarification and accuracy regarding the school board’s variance on sidewalks on Oakes Road. The Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District sought and gained approval of a variance from the city’s board of zoning appeals to not install sidewalks along the frontage of the new elementary school as required by city code. This is true.

What is not true and is unfairly portrayed is that the school district did not want sidewalks. The reason the school district requested the variance was due to the absence of other sidewalks with which to connect. School and fieldhouse architect, TDA, recommended that the school district not install sidewalks on Oakes Road because the city of Brecksville had not done so, and that the district should wait until the city had the ability to connect to something. A discussion of this can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/y1QjXdvim9Q

How does this variance impact connectivity on Oakes? It doesn’t. Once the new elementary school is eligible, BBHSD can partner with the city to apply for Safe Routes to School funding. And with the city’s recent unveiling of the “Sidewalk, Trail and Connectivity Plan,” Oakes Road can be added as a priority because of the impending opening of the new school.

The city can make an immediate long-term commitment to connectivity.  By yearly allocating 2% of the annual budget for the installation of new sidewalks to existing ones on major arterial roads, connectivity can come to fruition in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable cost.

Merri Gunzler

River Birch Run