The Student Parking Lot Dilemma


Photo via South Lakes High School

Now that school is back to its usual hustle and bustle, students are driving to school and parents are taking advantage of the kiss and ride. This fall, licensed Juniors and Seniors are being reminded of a struggle COVID seemed to dissipate: getting out of the student parking lot. The patience of South Lakes student drivers is being tested to an extent like never before.

Here’s the thing, busses aren’t a COVID-conscious parent’s first choice, although many may not have a choice. Kiss and ride is really the next best option. Consequently, parents are jamming the kiss and ride line and the congestion is felt a mile back on South Lakes Drive. One could say it’s a headache at the very least. 

With a single entrance and exit to the student lot, and what seems like hundreds of cars, student drivers have grown agitated with the new back up. The general consensus seems to be that unless you sprint to your car at 2:55, it’ll be a 20 minute wait 一 and that is on a good day. 

Photo via Taylor Anderson

Some senior drivers had very clear opinions on the parking lot. 

“It’s basically a big traffic jam. The one lane really slows it down,” says Marc Goldstein. 

“I’m trapped for 30 minutes and I feel like everyone is going to hit me. I don’t even try to get out at first. [It’s] the most stressful part of my day,” Paige Paulikonis adds her frustration. 

“It’s stressful. A lot of people don’t follow right of way rules and I worry about getting hit. I don’t like sitting there for 20 minutes,” comments Meg Paulson.

“It’s terrible. No one is directing cars and I have to get to school 40 minutes early to beat the traffic,” Kit Machida notes. 

“It takes me 25-30 minutes just to leave the parking lot everyday. It makes me late to practice and work,” Emilia Cayelli expresses.

Traditional senior privileges allow for seniors to leave class five minutes early on Fridays. Nevertheless, the stagnant line of parents waiting to pick up their students proves the advantage to be ultimately ineffective. 

A quick fix for this problem is not as easily available as these students would have hoped. A single entrance/exit and long kiss and ride line make the jam what it is, but a few potential solutions could yield satisfying results. For example, blocking off the left turn lane, which is already implemented, but more importantly, setting up the kiss and ride somewhere else. The lack of blacktop space at the school puts a damper on this solution but with permission, a kiss and ride on Ridge Heights Drive or behind the busses in the teacher’s parking lot could be feasible. Another route could be to use cones to block off the left lane to cars turning right out of the parking lot. A curved line of cones would force the right lane to flow into the kiss and ride while the left lane would be free for people continuing straight, thus freeing up the flow of cars exiting the lot. 

The student parking lot and kiss and ride are always a hassle but no previous year has prompted more complaints than this one. The 2021-22 school year is off to a swarming start, but students are seeming to forgive the hustle and bustle for a semi-normal school year.