Issues: The problems with parking lots

Brendan Davidson, parsnip editor

The long line of cars never seems to end for the student trapped within. After 10 minutes, she finally reaches the tightly packed Essex parking lot only to realize her mistake: she is too late. Every non-numbered parking space has been full for five minutes and she must force her way out of the parking lot to find an open curb space. Three minutes later, she finds a spot she can wedge into and hurries to class. This kind of traffic is what sophomores, juniors and seniors struggle with every day. Lindsay Kocher, junior, gets to school early most mornings to avoid this time-consuming, frustrating standstill.

“There’s really no one here [in the Essex lot] at 7:15 a.m.,” Kocher said. “I can glide through the open lot to park strategically [to deal with] the traffic jam at the end of the day.”

According to Kocher, the Essex lot fills up as early as 7:30 a.m. This is because there are 186 total spots, with 64 being teacher spots and 122 being student spots in the Essex parking lot. Even though some spaces are rarely filled, teachers and staff need to have their own parking, Kocher said. But many students are against having parking spaces for every staffer, some of which do not need the space every day. Sam Walter, senior, said the large number of excess teachers’ spots helps to reduce available spaces for students, who need all the spaces they can get.

“I [deal with] the problem of [not always] being able to park in the lot even though I paid for a sticker,” Walter said. “Still, nothing should change [because] assigning spots would restrict some people from being able to have a parking space.”

In addition to the parking lots being overcrowded, 36 percent (79/218) of students would choose to park somewhere else due to students having classes far from their first or last classes. However, according to Dr. Michael Havener, principal, tradition is the main reason why the parking situation remains static. Sophomores have to stick to streets and neighborhood parking, juniors have to park in the Essex lot and seniors have to park in the Dougherty Ferry lot, at least for now.

“We’ve thought about changing [who parks where] partly because Mrs. Miller’s office is by Essex.” Havener said. “But when we surveyed seniors, they like the Dougherty Ferry lot because there’s [much] more parking. It would take [the senior class’ action] to change the rule.”

For now, the system must remain the way it is. According to Michael Wade, associate principal, there isn’t anything the school can do to help traffic or the parking lots.

“We don’t have any resolution [because] we are a landlocked high school, surrounded by homes, and we can’t give up any more athletic space,” Wade said.

What’s being done:

According to Mike Wade, associate principal, the students’ best option is to get to school early, avoid traffic and get the best parking spot they can. The school may not have any solutions currently, he said, but the KHS administration is always working to give students the best experience.