Parking: Pass or Fail?
By Sirisha Brahmandam, Layout & Design Editor
With several well-timed lanes changes in heavy traffic, some quickly thought out U-turns, and perhaps the dreaded task of parallel parking, you are ready to take control of the wheel on your own. After almost a year of practice, hard work, and dedication, high schoolers are ecstatic when they are finally allowed to independently drive. A driver’s license brings a sense of freedom, maturity, and responsibility — being able to drive wherever and whenever, giving other people rides, showing off the cool features of your car. With a shiny license comes the option of driving to school. However, while this seems like a venture that everyone would love to partake in, it has slowly gained a reputation as a common annoyance for new high school drivers.
As the year progresses, parking problems get worse. Due to the small size of the school, there isn’t enough parking available for all students that drive to be guaranteed a spot in the parking lot. Parking capacity has decreased from 120 to about 105 since 2006, according to Safety and Security Specialist Bertell Smith. “I tell students now ‘If you want a sticker [parking pass], park at your own risk.’ Finding space is not guaranteed.”
Because of the parking shortage, many student drivers are forced to get to school much earlier just to be able to find a decent parking spot. “I used to come to school around 8:05, and there would be a decent amount [of parking spots] left,” says Lucia Ingles (12). “Now I’m lucky to find a spot before 8:00.”
Students unable to find a spot often opt to park along the side of the road the leads to Providence RECenter or in the basketball courts.
To make matters worse, each student who drives to school is required to buy a county-issued parking pass to hang in their car. Many students are not willing to spend up to $200 for one, so they choose to either use passes from previous years or simply not use a pass at all. This causes frustration amongst students who bought passes because they believe it is unfair for them to not be guaranteed a parking spot even though they spent money.
Those who refuse to use valid parking passes cause problems for school staff.
“The only thing that we can do is put warning stickers on the cars. We only have three boots that we can put on the cars,” Mr. Smith says. “It has about a fifty dollar fine, but you don’t have to pay that until you’re a senior.”
The school’s upcoming renovations might alleviate some of the parking issues. Mr. Smith hopes to see more parking space added to meet the school’s growing population. “If you’re going to renovate, it means you’re going to have more students. It [parking] should be the first thing, not just building classrooms.”