Envision the excitement many underclassmen experience after passing their nerve-racking driver’s test at the Department of Motor Vehicles and receiving their driver’s license. The next school day, they drive themselves to school, enjoying a newfound solitude. Driving into the Churchill parking lot, they see a number of empty spots, but unfortunately they must park across the street since they cannot purchase a parking permit and must walk a longer distance to school.
As many underclassmen have no choice but to park in front of residential homes, many are subject to the abuse of local homeowners. This is one of the issues faced by Palo Alto High School sophomore Ariya Momeny.
“I know several people [who] have had their cars keyed and their tires slashed,” Momeny said.
At Paly, the administration solely issues permits to park in the Churchill lot and the El Camino lot to juniors and seniors. However, some underclassmen purchase permits from upperclassmen in order to enjoy on-campus parking privileges and to avoid the inconvenience of parking off-campus.
“The thing that initially pushed me to voice my opinion was getting a parking ticket for parking on Castilleja Street, across from Churchill [Avenue],” Momeny said. “The people living there called the police to give me a ticket.”
Momeny has taken this issue to Student Activities Director Matt Hall to see what can be done about the matter. Hall and Momeny have discussed the matter and are considering taking it to the administration, according to Momeny.
A friend of Momeny, sophomore Griffin Carlson, even made a petition to draw additional attention to the subject.
“It was a good idea to show that people support it,” Momeny said. “Unfortunately, everyone just wants to have their spots next year without underclassmen taking them so they are hesitant to sign.”
Furthermore, some upperclassmen are fixed on restraining parking permits to only juniors and seniors. Although many sophomores now strongly believe in giving everyone with a license a permit, some changed their mind when thinking forward to their junior year.
“I will still support my viewpoint next year as a junior,” Momeny said. “Realistically, the underclassmen are most likely not going to be able to get them until they are all sold out. But knowing that they even have a chance is good.”
In Momeny’s case, he is one who stepped up in taking action on a vocal issue amongst underclassmen. He hopes to make progress in improving how other students are treated when parked across from the school or make an impact on the administration to consider extending the permit allowance to underclassmen as well.
“I think that upperclassmen should obviously get priority, but it should be open to everyone [who] has a license,” Momeny said. “It’s unfair because I can see that there are open spots, but I can’t use them. And having people call the police on me because I’m parking near their house is crazy.”