Many high schoolers ceremoniously spend their seventeenth birthday at the DMV, praying that they pass their driving test. Obtaining a provisional license affords teenagers a new freedom, and many high schoolers seize this opportunity to drive with increased convenience to hot food spots, the mall, and different towns.
However, for newly-licensed drivers at RHS, there are myriad parking issues. The school’s parking lot simply does not contain enough spots for all the upperclassmen who are able to drive. The closest place to get free parking is at Vets Field, which is a five to ten minute walk from the high school. Vets sounds like a reasonable option, but this routine can be extremely inconvenient when in a rush.
After many of the juniors turn seventeen and get their licenses at the end of the year, there are rarely any parking spots left at Vets Field. Many of those who are unable to get to Vets early enough must resort to parking at Graydon Pool, which is a sizeable distance from the high school. Additionally, juniors and seniors who try to park in the church lot have been causing some issues, and many complain about their dissatisfaction with the price that must be paid to park in the church, which is a whopping $550.
A junior at RHS states, “It’s just too far away! I hate walking all the way from Vets. I’m taking four AP’s so my backpack is super heavy. Ugh, the Ridgewood life is so hard. How am I supposed to get to Panera in time?” Clearly, the parking issues at RHS are taking a toll on students, especially students that are juggling difficult classes and their social lives as well. It has also been reported that some students do not park carefully enough, causing mayhem when others try to park near them. Another junior said “One person failed to parallel park in the parking lot, and it caused trouble for everyone else who was trying to park there too. I couldn’t get my car into the parking spot because that car affected all the other cars around it.”
This issue also affects students physically. Various students are burdened with constant back pain as they are forced to trek to school due to the lack of available parking spaces. Heavy backpacks cause muscle strain and back pain, and it’s advised to wear them for as little time possible. However, the high school’s parking problems do nothing to encourage this, and the distance students have to walk from their parking spots to the school only increases the amount of strain on students’ shoulders.
Not only do students face difficulty to find parking spots, but some teachers also run into problems. Mr. Turkington, a teacher at RHS, said in response to the parking issues that “there aren’t enough parking spaces, even for the staff.” This is clearly a major problem, due to the fact that the staff should have top priority when parking at RHS.
Efforts have been made to address these issues. While RHS is trying to find solutions, they often involve having students park farther away or paying for spots, both of which are not ideal. Some teachers have been advocating for numbered parking spots, while students request that something be done about the limited parking spaces closer to the school. These issues are still prevalent, but RHS is doing its best to resolve them.
Christy Chang and Kathryn Zhou
Graphic: Amelia Chen