Free for all parking forces students to choose between long walk and sleep

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Student arrival time determines location of parking spots in first, second and third lots. Photo by Jonathan McCollough; Photographic by Ryan D’Souza.

Alyssa Brooks | Staff Writer

“Someone parked in my spot.”

This sentence became the infamous quote of students last year with assigned parking spots. Last year, depending on the time they registered, students were placed throughout all parking lots, from the coveted B9 spot to third lot. This year the game has changed, as administration  has adopted the “first come first serve” policy with first, second, and third lots for the 2016-2017 year.

Although some students were concerned over the increased traffic, the change opened up more opportunities for students like junior Aniya Longmire.

“When I found out that I would be getting third lot before school started, other juniors (and I) were a little disappointed,” Longmire said. “Now since it’s first come first serve, it’s great. I not only get to school early to get a good parking spot, but I am also determined to leave early to avoid bad traffic on Mason Montgomery Road in the mornings.”

For students like Longmire, the new organization of parking spots has been a way to recover from registering late and being placed in lots further from the school. But in junior Ally Astles’ case, she lost her treasured pool lot spot, and has to make extensive efforts to park where she was initially assigned.

“If I want to park anywhere near the school, I have to get to there around 6:35,” Astles said. “I used to leave my house at 6:40 last year so leaving at 6:20 is pretty inconvenient. I signed up for my spot within one minute of the registration opening and I got pool lot spot, but now I have to leave super early to get a spot in pool lot.”

Although the incentive of getting a good spot has motivated students to get to school earlier, principal Dave Hyatt said that this was not a reason for the change.

“It is a happy coincidence that it inspires students to get up earlier and come to school,” Hyatt said. “But the thing that we don’t want to promote is a level of urgency where kids are hurrying, or where kids are doing things that are dangerous to get a better spot, or getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning just to park.”

Because nobody is restricted to a specific spot, students like junior Robbie Grischy thought that people without parking tags could easily park without being caught. But Hyatt said it is quite opposite.

“In years like last year where we tried to assign spots without space numbers, it was a daily management nightmare to find out who was parking in the wrong spots,” Hyatt said. “From a management standpoint, (this year) we get to spend more time on education and less on parking.”

Grischy said beginning his day earlier, inspired by his desire to snag a pool lot spot, has educational benefits as well.

“I usually wake up at around 6 o’clock, and last year I woke up at 6:15,” Grischy said. “With the rigor of my schedule this year, I can talk to my teachers about classes in the morning.”

Hyatt said he and the rest of administration remain prepared to handle any oncoming issues with parking registration and parking lots but for now, the new method is running smoothly.

“If they (juniors) get here on time, there will be spaces available,” Hyatt said. “The sole purpose of this is to resolve the issues that came along with assigning specific spots in the community lots last year. So our hope is that the kids are appropriate and drive with safety in mind.”

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