The Chaos of Driving to (and Parking at) School

1 min read

Every morning, hundreds of students drive to school and park in the M-A parking lot. The parking lot is notorious for overcrowding and long wait lines, yet many M-A students continue to rely on cars as their main source of transportation. Some students have expressed their displeasure with the parking system and proposed solutions.

One of the main causes of the traffic jams is the setup of the parking spots. The M-A parking lot is organized in rows that either feed onto Ringwood or Oak Grove, both naturally busy roads. This causes long backups that can take up to 15 minutes to clear at peak times. 

A possible solution is to have more exit channels so students can leave the parking lot from more than two areas would decrease traffic.

Junior Sarah Judas said, “Getting out of the parking lot takes way too long. It shouldn’t take twenty minutes.” She proposed, “M-A should open all the gates to get more people out.”

Many M-A drivers are within the first few months or years of obtaining their license. According to the CDC,Crash risk is particularly high during the first months of licensure,” and, “In 2019, among U.S. high school students who drove, 39% texted or e-mailed while driving at least once during the prior 30 days”. This combination of driving, lack of experience, and sometimes inattention can explain the high threat of collisions among adolescents. 

It’s important for students to practice safe driving techniques, follow vehicular laws, and stay attentive. M-A shifted its start time to 8:30 a.m. to comply with Senate Bill Number 328. Local schools such as La Entrada, Hillview, Encinal, and Laurel share approximate start times as M-A, so many students find themselves caught in traffic from these schools. For some students, the new start time has made it harder to get to class on time, leading to an increase in tardiness.

One way to avoid traffic is to park in the athletic parking lot located near the gymnasium. Because of its small size, the traffic buildup tends to be less severe than the main student lot, making leaving easier. 

Senior Addie Rutsky said, “I park in the sports parking lot because it does not take as long to leave as the main parking lot.” 

Another solution is to carpool. Carpooling is a great way to reduce traffic and lessen the frequency of how many days you have to drive.

Junior Dani Koo proposed, “We should have a designated area for parents to pick up their children or a gradual release.” A gradual release would involve different end times for different parts of the school to reduce traffic. 

A final possible solution is to utilize other forms of transportation so students can avoid the parking lot altogether. There are many other forms of transportation, such as biking or taking the bus, which can avoid most forms of morning traffic. 

Tiffany Karp is a senior at M-A this year. She enjoys writing about local events and culture on campus. She is also a member of M-A’s Dance Team and dances competitively.

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