Parking Causes Problems for Students

Alyssa De Leon, Staff Reporter

It would be an understatement to say the student parking lot is a mess. Year after year, students have hustled to get to the lot early and find a spot. Now that sophomores have started to get their licenses, students have had to park in undesignated spots, despite already buying passes. The truth is, parking passes and the designated “student lot” aren’t effective and must be fixed.

At the beginning of the year, students line up and wait, sometimes for hours, to receive parking passes for $40. 

Throughout the year, as more and more students receive their license or cars, parking spots become rarer. Students who didn’t have their license at the beginning of the year start to park in the lot without buying a parking pass, making finding spots harder for those who actually bought passes. 

Students who have a parking pass and receive tickets have to pay for theirs, since the school has the car information. But students who neglect to pay for a pass and still park in the lot don’t necessarily have to pay for a ticket, since the school doens’t have their information.

Of course, some students rebel by parking in the staff parking lot or just by making their own spot, but then get hit with a ticket. 

Students who don’t have a zero or first period drive around the lot for 20+ minutes trying to find an open spot, and even then they often have to park down Brewster Ave, James Ave. or even in the North Star Middle School parking lot. 

“You have to factor in the district office employees that park in the lot, and also [the] teachers [who] use the lot,” security guard Matt Kelly said.

Teachers and district employees are meant to have permits as well, but many of the cars parked there do not show a pass.

“They’re supposed to, but not everyone uses their placard, students and staff,” senior Jennifer Westling said.

Teachers can park in the student lot while students aren’t allowed to park in the staff lot.

Sequoia is the most enrolled school in the Sequoia Union High School District, as well as the number of faculty we have coupled with our limited amount of space, administration needs to figure out a solution to balance the space shared with students and staff.

“Staff, they need a spot here…You figure how many students actually drive, okay. And then towards the end of the year you have to realize a lot more students are getting their license at the end of the year… It’s just a bunch of things. We try to do our best, but there’s only three of us,” Kelly said. “We try to control all the parking with everything else that’s going on in the campus.” 

Students with a parking pass parked in unmarked spots are still being ticketed.

“Those are more for safety things, we have busses that come around or emergency vehicles, those are big factor,” Kelly said. “We don’t want to ticket anyone. We know there is a parking issue.”

When buying a parking pass there is a contract you have to sign containing rules including “pedestrians have the right of way” and “the speed limit is under 10 mph.” But most significantly, it states, “A parking permit does not guarantee a parking spot. Students must arrive at school in sufficient time in the morning to find a parking spot and to get to class on time.”

There are 138 total spots in just the student lot. For the 2018-19 school year there were a total of 115 parking passes sold, and 56 citations were given.

The average cost of a citation is $30 and you have one week to pay, with a late fee of an extra $20. 

“A citation is given for three major reasons. One, parking in the staff lot. Two, being improperly parked in a non designated space. And three, parking without a parking permit displayed or on file,” Administrative Vice Principal Secretary Griselda Horton said.

But some students have come up with a possible solution to help. 

“When you get a parking pass, you get assigned a parking spot, with a number, the same number that corresponds with the number on your parking pass. That’s your parking spot for the rest of the year. And same goes for staff,” Westling said. 

This idea sounds great. It is a more fair, structured, and organized solution. With helping manage space for students and staff, while also keeping students and staff who didn’t pay for a parking permit accountable for parking in the lot.