Essex vs. Dougherty Ferry
April 21, 2023
The Essex lot: the only place you can hear the bass pumping and see erratic driving all before the sun has fully risen. KHS has two main lots, Essex and Dougherty Ferry, which both include spots for students. The Essex lot is dedicated to juniors, and is the smaller of the two lots. It has 176 spots total; 52 for staff and 124 for students.
Essex has a very normal structure, with four rows and straight parking spots, perfect for new drivers. Its location is prime for athletes, as it is right across from the stadium, soccer and lacrosse fields.
Due to how compact this lot is, you will get to know everyone in your grade, bringing the class together one door-ding at a time. If you aren’t looking to make new friends, you could always claim a section of the parking lot for your group, making it easy to socialize before first hour.
Unfortunately, that’s where the pros for this lot end. Due to its limited size, the lot fills up quickly. If you get there any later than 7:30 a.m., you might as well just skip scouring the parking lot for a spot because there won’t be one.
There are many experiences KHS students all have in common, one of them being that rush of adrenaline when you see an empty spot a few rows over. You speed over, only to discover the white numbers classifying it as a teacher’s spot. Day after day about half of the teacher spots are left vacant, which seems unfair for a grade that has 460 students, but only 124 spots.
After the bell rings, this lot is a nightmare to get out of. Buses, parent pick-ups and junior class traffic all attempt to squeeze out of the same small exit, so you might as well just wait until 3 p.m. before you even think of heading to your car. There are arrows painted on the asphalt to direct traffic, but once the clock reads 2:42 p.m. it’s almost as if these directions don’t exist because everyone speeds toward the exit. With cars filtering in from all directions, combined with the stubbornness of KHS’s drivers, it’s a miracle to get out of that lot in less than 10 minutes.
Another issue with this lot is the entrance and exit are too close to each other. It’s nearly impossible to turn left out of Essex because the line of cars trying to get into the lot back up past the exit. The only good thing about this is if you arrive and realize you can’t do school today, you can easily whip out without anyone noticing.
This lot takes second (and last) place. If Essex’s inhabitants were a little better, then maybe it would be considered a contender for top spot.
In early May, after a year of settling for the Essex lot, juniors finally get to be the big dogs on campus and claim their new parking lot: Dougherty Ferry. The lot is the larger of the two, and is reserved for seniors and staff. It has 369 spots total, 187 for students and 182 for teachers. However, it’s a little more difficult to navigate.
Dougherty Ferry is shaped like a half-circle, and its spots are slanted, so it is an adjustment from the simplicity of the junior lot. If the diagonal lines are too intimidating, there is an overflow lot with traditional lines, but you’ve got to be early because those spots are the first to go.
Despite having more teacher spots, they aren’t as controversial because the majority of them are filled every day. Maybe it’s just because of senioritis, but if you roll into this lot at 7:35 a.m., there will still be an open spot, something you couldn’t find on Essex.
While Dougherty Ferry hasn’t perfected the end-of-day traffic routine either, it is definitely a lot less of a headache. The pick-up lines feed into each other seamlessly, so the only worry is trying not to hit the curb to get in the left turn lane.
This lot is a favorite for baseball players and students who enjoy STEM subjects due to its proximity to those buildings and fields, but that’s pretty much it. Dougherty Ferry is a decent walk from the gyms, natatorium and fields, so unless you’re trying to get some extra steps in, this lot probably isn’t your first choice.
The biggest bone I have to pick with this lot is the name of the road it’s on. “Dougherty Ferry” is such a chore to spell that KHS students resorted to strictly referring to it as “DF.” I mean, whoever named this road chose the most difficult spelling they could. Why couldn’t they have gone with Dorty Fairy?
Dougherty Ferry seems like parking lot heaven, and it is, until that first rainy day of the school year. Instead of a parking lot, you’ll feel like you’re stepping on a minefield trying to avoid the puddles and ponds that develop after the slightest drizzle.
Dougherty Ferry is way better than Essex, which makes sense, because the superior class deserves the superior parking lot.