Parking dilemma revs up community

RALEIGH So school officials have come up with a plan to expand it. A plan that has some Broughton parents and alumni seeing red.

When it comes to history and education, few schools can top the storied tradition of Raleigh's Needham Broughton High School. And few schools can top Broughton when it comes to a parking mess.

"There's too many students and not enough spaces," parent Dena Harris said.

Harris pays $300 for her son to park in a private lot across from Broughton --an urban landlocked school with no place to grow.

Increased enrollment has also had another effect on parking. There used to be a big parking lot at Broughton, but much of it is filled with mobile classrooms to accommodate extra students."

So the school system has drawn up plans to add 131 parking spaces, spaces that would go in front of the school and displace much of the grass that's there now.

"No, absolutely not," Harris said. "We don't have enough parking, but it just wouldn't be the same."

The plans' designers say they only tried to do the best they could to solve the dilemma and at the same time respect Broughton's historic architecture.

"We're not surprised by opposition to it, but it needs to be discussed so the opportunities are there," said Michael Burriss with Wake County public schools.

Wake school officials point out that there are many parents and residents of Broughton's neighborhood that are in favor of the parking plan, but they also know that there's a legacy of power at Broughton.

"A lot of people here, you know, their parents came or their grandparents came," Harris said.

And a lot of those parents and grandparents are well connected and apparently a lot of them oppose the plan to tear up the lawn at Broughton.

Currently, it's up to the Raleigh Planning Commission to approve the next step for the Broughton parking plan.

The commission meets to consider the issue on Sept. 9.

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