Gateway Sun

Sometime tomorrow I should be told by Gateway’s lawyer Anthony Pires that I’m either extremely clever, or that I’ll be needing to issue a prompt and strongly-worded retraction and apology about street parking in one Gateway community.

But as we await an explanation as to how Stoneybrook is above case law, I’ll fill you in on another matter parking Pires is working on.

We all know that the Gateway Charter Schools parking situation is a mess. Given the number of students at the school, the dreaded “parent pick-up” is causing problems for both motorists and the Gateway Services District alike.

Some parents just don’t feel like going through the time-consuming parent pick-up process every day so they park in the Alta parking lot or along side Gateway Boulevard or Commerce Lakes Drive and their children walk to meet them.

And sometimes parents arrive earlier than the parent pick-up line opens in order to be the first ones through. They’re forced to wait by parking on or along side Gateway Boulevard.

But in some cases those parents parking in such a way that they damage the district’s landscaping.

So at a recent GSCDD meeting, Supervisor Kathleen Flaherty directed Pires to get in touch with the school and ask them to do more to force the parents to stop parking along Gateway Boulevard.

It appears as though Pires’ strategy will be to remind Gateway Charter of a December 23, 2013 settlement agreement between the schools and the district, part of which contained language that the schools must help educate parents – and when need be take action to contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to enforce parking laws in Gateway.

Gateway Boulevard does not have a parking lane associated with it. Plus, you’re not allowed to just park wherever you want if it means you’re going to be damaging district-owned landscaping.

So it would seem the LCSO would have multiple options on which to deal with impatient parents who want to bypass parent pick-up, or the ones getting there too early.

Having dealt with it myself at both Gateway Charter buildings, I can attest that parent pick-up is a pain. And while Flaherty has a point when she says the GSCDD shouldn’t have to be constantly paying to have landscaping, where are parents supposed to do if the parent pick-up line at the high school is too long? They have no choice but to park along Gateway Boulevard.

Pires should be updating the board at tomorrow’s GSCDD meeting as to either the status of Gateway Charter’s assistance in dealing with the problem, or his strategy to get the schools on board with helping out.

I don’t see a viable solution to the problem. But hopefully the folks at Gateway Charter are able to come up with one.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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