I was asked by a student to take today’s walk from 3rd Street with Lincoln Middle School Students up to their school. It was the fourth such walk this year and a way to encourage physical activity. We started from the Harrison Community Club although they have also started from further West at the Wheeler Field in the past.
It was a beautiful morning. There were perhaps 25 students and possibly 15 teachers and staff and two school board members, me of course, and Art Johnston. I called Art the other day about it while he was busy playing Pachabel’s Cannon in D on his piano. He’d plunked a few notes on our grand in the past but it hasn’t been tuned for a couple years but then Art is pretty rusty too.
It wasn’t a long walk and we took a foot path that eventually became a wide sidewalk but at an incredibly steep angle of about 25%. Train tracks are only built on a 7% grade if memory serves. Art told me that a woman whose house lies at the bottom called him with pictures of poor kids slipping and sliding on the steep grade during snowy and ice weather.
One of the teachers who came along for the walk asked me if I knew what percentage of students walked the trail but I had to tell him I had no idea. I knew it wasn’t many because it has a very wide attendance area now from east of Messaba Avenue to Fon du Lac. Prizes were being offered for today’s walkers who had been on every previous walk. 25 kids wasn’t much of a turnout on this special day so the location of the school seems to be the impediment to walking that was predicted. Nonetheless the school is situated on a spectacular piece of property but one that many poor families have a terrible time getting to. Even families with cars have to be careful driving up the curving road to the school. It has one hair pin turn that is almost impossible for a car and bus to pass each other on. I have no idea how two buses meeting each other there in the morning negotiate the turn.
I told Art that someday the District would spend a couple million dollars to engineer an improvement on the problem. We both roled our eyes.