Are Students Bound for Another Parking Catastrophe?

As more juniors get their license, Westwood High students will inevitably have more trouble finding parking spots; the 312 spot capacity will most likely reach its limit before the end of the school year.

Legislative council implemented parking passes this year to ensure that sophomores will not be parking in the student or overflow parking lots. This move was also made in the hope of providing more spots to juniors and seniors. Sophomores, however, can still park on Nahatan street or any other legal spot near campus and they are allowed to park in the student lots after the seniors graduate.

Mrs. Kinsman reported 271 parking passes have been given out to junior and seniors driving to school. She also recalled another 20 students who have filled out the form to receive the parking pass but have not arrived to her office to pick them up. Still, more juniors are predicted to get their license, and the 41 extra spots students currently have will be diminishing.

What has caused parking to become worse? Students and staff may have noticed the growing student body and the effects it has to our school. Mr. Bevan, the high school principal, is also aware that Westwood High have had to add more classrooms, class sizes and lockers. Nevertheless, last year was the first year parking became an issue.

Current seniors experienced the effect bigger grade sizes had on parking in the spring of 2017. Ori Attridge,  a senior at Westwood High School, recalled, “last year was so chaotic: when I’d come in late due to privileges there were no parking spaces in the overflow or the main student lot behind the building… there were cars parked in places that weren’t even parking spots.”

Mr. Bevan parks in the staff labeled spots in the student lot and even the principal finds, “When I arrive back to school frequently my spot has been taken, and I have to park in the overflow lot or in the other side by the administration so the struggle is real for arriving and not finding a spot.”

This year the parking passes have been successful and the students have been “compliant” with the changes in the eyes of the administration. Though parking passes and arriving to school haven’t been an issue, senior Fiona Mastromattei acknowledged how “people usually whip out of [the parking lot] pretty fast” at the end of the day and “most kids don’t look as you’re backing up.” Some students, like senior Connor Powers, still avoid the student parking lot. “I park on Nahatan Street” he explained, shrugging his shoulders.  

Parking is not perfect in any school, and numerous students expressed annoyance at the staff labeled spots in the student parking lot. As Senior Rose Cautela said, “not being able to cut through the teacher lot” is unnecessary because teachers usually stay past 2:02 or come before 7:20.

Although we don’t know when parking is going to become more of a struggle or if it will be as impactful as last year, we do know that parking had been “better than expected” this year. Perhaps each year Westwood will find new changes that they can implement to create better parking for student drivers.  

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