Lack of Parking Spots Leaves Staff and Students Frustrated

2 mins read

During school hours, the M-A parking lot is almost always full. With cars parked in carpool lanes, electric vehicle charging spots, the teacher parking lot, and handicap spots, students who arrive late are often left circling the parking lot in hopes of finding a parkable spot.

According to Administrative Vice Principal (AVP) Nicholas Muys, because of M-A’s location, parking has been a problem for decades. Muys explained, “We’re unable to expand to provide more parking, so I completely understand the frustrations.” He explained that the school has tried to address this issue by forming a traffic task force and by working with the mayor of Atherton, local law enforcement, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and travel flow experts. However, “The conclusion that came out of all of that was that there is just not a ton we can do in terms of our capacity,” Muys said.

Muys explained that students who are unable to find parking should park in front of the administration building and talk to AVPs rather than parking in the staff lot due to teacher complaints. He said, “There are constant negotiations going on because we don’t want people to get ticketed endlessly, but we have to keep the lines between staff parking and student parking clear.” 

Senior Talya Dallal does not have a first period and struggles to find a parking spot every morning. She was ticketed when she parked in the carpool lane outside the administration building and had to pay $65. She said that when she went to talk to administration, “their excuse was, ‘When we went to go check, there was parking.’”

Dallal stated she knows many people who have been parking without a parking sticker the entire year and have never gotten ticketed. On this common sentiment, Muys said, “Our campus aides have the directive to ticket when students are parking [without a sticker]; we have to enforce it. If it’s not being enforced regularly, then we need to bring that up with the staff.” 

Since it is impossible to physically expand the parking lot, Muys recommends students try to avoid driving to school, explaining, “We want to encourage people to take green transportation in the form of public buses, bicycles, walking, and carpooling—all options which are available to everyone.” In addition, he said, “I would like to rethink who gets a sticker and who doesn’t. It’s just an idea right now, but it would make a lot of sense to, for example, examine the request for stickers based on the student’s location.” He explained that the distance between students’ houses and the school could be a helpful factor in deciding who has priority in getting a sticker. However, Muys is leaving M-A at the end of this school year, so this task would need to be taken up by someone else.

Muys concluded, “We need to continue to examine the issue. It’s untenable, and it’s a constant source of strain and struggle.” 

Jolene is a senior at M-A and this is her second year in journalism. She looks forward to writing more opinion pieces about controversial topics this year. In her free time, she enjoys running track and listening to music.

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