Parking Situation Frustrates Students

How changes to parking may have led to a worse driving experience at school for both students and parents?

As you walk towards your car slowly after a tiring school day, you notice the abundance of cars lined up, fighting over parking spots and parked in the middle of intersections. It will take a while to leave due to the traffic.

This same scenario can hit close to home for UPA students. The issues regarding parking and driving affect everyone at UPA, from the students trying to leave, parents attempting to pick up their children and even the various food trucks that visit campus.

The school guidelines and rules regarding parking and driving are more strictly enforced this year with the addition of more staff who monitor the school, the pickup area to the right of the Horton and signs that show the designated parking areas. The changes were first implemented during hybrid learning. 

Student drivers, like seniors Britney Stout and Nahum Hintsa, have noticed how difficult it can be to find parking in the student parking lot, even with the new changes, because of the number of cars after school and the small campus which accumulates to major traffic jams.

The student parking lot gets filled up by UPA parent’s cars, as there is not enough student drivers to fill the spots. (Photo by Christopher Alvarez.)

Stout got her driver’s license in August 2020, allowing her to drive and park at school this year. 

“When parents come and pick up their kids in front of the coffee shop where students are supposed to park, it makes it difficult to leave school sometimes because there’s so many cars coming in and out of that area,” Stout said. “It can be troublesome because you’re always waiting in traffic just to leave school.” 

The main parking spot for students, staff, and parents is the space in front of the main office; the area facing the cafe is considered extra parking.

Hintsa began driving in the summer of 2021 and drives himself to school every day. Student drivers like Hintsa and Stout both believe that the commotion and traffic is caused by the entrance and exit of so many cars. 

“Because the school campus is very small, and we have about 720 [students] here, so many cars are coming in and out that it can cause a big ruckus and irritation,” Hintsa said. 

Traffic and buildup formed when parents started to pick up and drop off their kids or park at the student parking spots in front of the cafe.

The two exits in the student parking lot lead to a traffic jam as it is a common place where students are picked up. (Photo by Christopher Alvarez.)

This year, in particular, has made the parking situation unique due to the addition of lines, staff, cones and signs. Cones and signs were placed directing parents through the three exits and entries. Staff like lead campus supervisor Elliot Boesch direct cars in the exit next to the Horton building while other teachers that rotate monitor the area next to the Learning Center.

Senior Eros Garcia got his license over quarantine and started driving to school. 

“We don’t have a large population of students, and our parking lot is small so for our students it wouldn’t be much of a problem, but with the addition of parents that aren’t supposed to be there, it becomes really congested and hard to get out,” Garcia said. 

Director of Special Programs Jean Mastrogiacomo supervises the traffic that builds up next to the Learning Center in the morning.

In some cases vehicles that don’t belong to parents not students will take up spaces like the utilities van and the mail truck visible in the photo. As depicted in the photo, cars take up all but the handicap spot after school. (Photo by Christopher Alvarez.)

Mastergiacomo pointed out that the reason why parents are still parking, picking up and dropping off in areas that they are not meant to is because parents do not seem to notice or understand the emails that were sent out to notify them of the rules and changes to them. 

Senior Romita Pakrasi, who started driving to school during hybrid learning, likewise believes that some of the issues regarding parking and driving at school this year have more to do with communication issues rather than parking layout, as well as the fact that new students’ parents never had the chance to drop off their kids during the first year and a half of distance learning.

“It’s a complicated issue that many parents don’t understand well since the school didn’t communicate the greatest,” Pakrasi said. “It’s also on the parents to open the emails on parking and better understand the drop-off and pickup rules.”