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Parking permits should be obtainable throughout year to accommodate students

Charlotte Liu

As I maneuver my way to the far right lane of El Camino Real in the morning rush with cars speeding past me at 50 mph, I catch a glimpse of the rarest item at Paly: a parking spot close to the Tower Building alongside the road of El Camino Real.

I quickly swerve into the spot with my heart racing. I’m one of the luckiest people in the world to have this parking spot. I wait for what seems like 10 minutes for the traffic to clear barely a foot away from my car.

While it might seem like a choice to park alongside El Camino Real I began parking there after I tried obtaining a parking permit from ASB Bookkeeper Fatima Giffen’s office two days after getting my driver’s license in mid-September. However, Giffen told me parking passes were sold out weeks before, and I would have to wait until next semester when the tower building reopens to obtain a parking permit.

My friends went through a similar process and now have to park alongside El Camino Real even though they are the first people at the lot when it’s still dark outside. Many didn’t even know they had to obtain a parking permit in order to park in the lot.

Paly administrators have stated the importance of obtaining a permit early since August, leading to piles of students lining up in front of the Bookkeeper’s office during the second week of school to pay for their permits. Paly, however, did not specify how those taking their driver’s tests later in the year, with the majority of permits sold by then, would obtain parking permits.

As the reconstruction of the Tower Building is scheduled to be finished by winter break, some students will be able to obtain a parking permit for the next semester which means they are guaranteed a spot and are usually closer to the school.

However, many will still be without a permit for the remainder of the year as there are only around 11 spots available for students on the waitlist with many still left without a parking spot.

The cost for a parking permit is $120 without an ASB card and $110 with an ASB card.

The parking permits are set at this price because it covers small costs for other Paly events such as Prom according to ASB.

There are also systemic disadvantages to the parking permit system. First, even with a permit, not all students are guaranteed spots and some have to scavenge for parking every day. Second, the mental impact of increased stress is due to students’ increased time spent driving to school and finding parking.

Third, students whose birthdays are later in the year aren’t able to obtain a parking permit because they were born later and would have to pay for one before they even can drive or wait till next year which poses a host of problems for students who would drive as their main or only form of transportation.

In addition, parking on El Camino Real is parallel to speeding traffic, posing an increased potential for harmful collisions as students enter and exit their cars.

Students also can’t park in residential areas or Town and Country, making it nearly impossible to find parking elsewhere.

It is also challenging to parallel park on El Camino as students are seasonal drivers and often don’t have much experience with parallel parking which makes the road even more dangerous for these new drivers.

Some argue if students can’t find parking or don’t have the ability to park, they should ride their bikes for health and climate benefits.

While this is true, many students have extracurriculars such as sports which force students to stay at school till after dark. Additional family responsibilities like picking siblings up from daycare also mean needing a car. Biking at night is especially dangerous, and students often have to carry sports equipment or large objects for their activities or school work, which adds another challenge to biking, making driving more efficient for the average student.

Nevertheless, parking can be a consistent problem for many students. Therefore I propose a certain number of parking slots be kept per month so students can obtain them regardless of the time of year.

Additionally, college representative spots should be given to students or teachers as well to decrease stress and safety concerns around parking for students therefore students will be able to have less stress when arriving at school, and students with extracurriculars won’t have as much luggage to haul from home to school then home again.

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Isabelle Carlsen, Staff Writer
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