Despite the protests of a vocal San Carlos neighborhood group, the Sequoia Union High School District voted unanimously last week to proceed with the purchase of the industrial complex at 535 Old County Road with the intent of constructing a magnet high school. As reported a few weeks ago on this site, the District is looking to build two magnet high schools within its boundaries as a way to alleviate capacity constraints at its existing schools due to surging enrollment in the area. The other location that the District has purchased for the second magnet school is at 150 Jefferson Drive in Menlo Park. The District hopes that the schools will attract 300-400 students each, according to this article in the Mercury News.
The San Carlos location that has been chosen for the magnet school creates an obvious problem that must be sufficiently addressed by the District: Traffic and parking. On a normal day, the combined intersections where both Industrial Road and El Camino Real meet Holly Street are extremely congested, especially at peak commute times. A big question mark with this proposal is how to accommodate the ingress, egress, and parking needs of 400 students plus faculty without completely overwhelming the area with gridlock.
I know from firsthand experience that when there are baseball and soccer games at Laureola Park, parking and traffic can be extremely challenging, and the attendance at these kinds of events are only a fraction of what a high school will draw on a daily basis. So coming up with a viable solution for this problem should be at the top of the District’s list of priorities if this project indeed moves forward.
And therein lies the big question — whether or not the project will indeed proceed. Neighbors in affected areas of San Carlos are extremely well informed and organized and they have certainly been battle-tested recently, addressing local developments such as the new parking restrictions on Holly Street, the Landmark Hotel proposal, and the Transit Village. The residents don’t object to building a magnet school in San Carlos, or even in the greater eastside section — provided that it’s a sensible location. This particular location creates some real and serious issues that must be adequately addressed.
From the tone of the comments in the Mercury News article, these residents appear ready to dig in their heels on this one. There is a petition posted on the Greater East San Carlos Neighborhood Association website which is seeking support to block the initiative.
What Do You Think?
What is your opinion of a proposed magnet high school at 535 Old County Road? Good idea, or ill-advised? Register your vote in the poll below, or as always, voice your thoughts in the comment section.
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