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Shut Up and Drive

Drivers struggle with parking lot chaos.

Rosie Frederick and Sidney Lowry

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When the school day is over, it may be time to brace yourself. The LHS parking lot can be challenging to get through when drivers are all trying to leave. Security Officer Kim True, who helps direct traffic in the afternoon, has seen near misses in the parking lot.

“I’ve seen people drive too fast and not pay attention,” True said. “I’ve seen people whip into parking spots in front of other cars. People can be very impatient. Drivers at LHS don’t seem to work together or help others in the parking lot. I do my best to prevent bad things from happening on the road just by not engaging with other people’s road rage.”

There is frustration in the parking lot from the students, but are they the only ones to blame? True thinks the problem in the LHS parking lot is not just the student’s fault.

“A lot of problems I’ve had lately are parents who don’t know the way we run things in the parking lot,” True said. “Parents don’t follow the same rules that everyone else is following.”

One of the main issues that was expressed by students in a poll conducted by The Bell is that parents picking up their children from school simply do not know where they are supposed to be and how the parking lot works in general. Parent drivers are seen weaving their way through the outgoing lines of student parking lot traffic.

Another concern about driving in the parking lot is cellphones. Students, as well as adults, have been taught for years that cellphones are one of the leading reasons why people get into car accidents. Though we have heard this repeatedly, people are still seen texting, calling and picking music while they are leaving the parking lot.

“In general, I think we all need to put the phones down and slow down,” science teacher Richard Fairchild said.

Students can get their parking pass taken away if they violate parking lot rules three times or if the administration calls for it immediately. Already, about five students this school year have had their parking passes taken away.

“There are warnings that are given, unless it’s just blatant they need to have their parking pass removed,” True said. “Students can also receive parking tickets. The first ticket is 10 dollars, second is 25, third is 50. After three tickets the student is subject to a towing.”

 

I wait 20 minutes after the final bell to go because of the absolute chaos coming out right after school. It’s hilarious how many times we tell each other to not use our phones while driving and I see multiple students do it every afternoon.”

– junior Peter Mallon

“I’m in the morning NCAPS program and I get to school around 10:30 to 10:40 a.m. There are not enough NCAPS spots for everyone to park, so I have to park all the way across the school. It is hard to get to class on time when I have to park all the way across the school.”

– senior Michaela Brooks

“People are really impatient. They want to get out of there. After school, I’ll see people walking and they stop to talk at their friend’s car or go by and smack the side of it.”

– junior Mia Baldomino

 

The speed limit of the parking lot is ten mph, however there are currently no signs displaying this information. There are two signs on BlueJay Drive saying 25 mph.

Another issue that students and teachers have expressed their concern about is the lack of available parking.

Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Jason Cahill, who manages the parking lot, has figured out exactly how many parking spaces there are.

“We could always use more parking spaces,” Cahill said. “We lost about 210 parking spaces in the back of the school. On the west side of the stadium we gained 140 spots. We also gained about 30 or 40 parking spaces close to Conistor road. We’re down about 10 or 20 spots once the construction starts. When the construction is complete and they redo the parking lot we’ll gain about 200 more spots than we had before the construction started.”

Students think there are things that can be changed in the parking lot including parking spaces and the parent line, but it first starts with themselves.

For unsafe habits, report the driver to the school administration for the safety of others.

 

“I watched two girls back out of their parking spot into each other at the same time. One of them was using their phone while backing up and not paying attention.”

– junior Cameron Phipps

“Some people feel that where they have to be is way more important. It ties back to the mindset that ‘I have to get out of the parking lot as quick as possible’.”

– junior Jake Green

“Me and my brother have to leave the school ten minutes early or else we’re going to be stuck in the LHS lot traffic. We’ve seen a few close calls and we’ve had parent line pick up stuck in front of us many times.”

– junior Katie Ball

“Yesterday, a student wasn’t looking behind them while they were in reverse and they backed into another car. There wasn’t much damage, thankfully.”

– junior Paige Hammond

“I’ve seen people reverse into each other, seen someone park in two spots, people run into the curb and I’ve seen someone almost crash leaving the parking lot.”

– junior Faraz Pervaiz

“Crazy, literal insanity, no rules, everyone for themselves, you hope you make it out alive.”

– senior Olivia Newell

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Shut Up and Drive