Parking Lot Problems

Lindsey Spencer, Equipment Coordinator

Who knew parking at school could be so difficult?

Many have noticed problems in the student parking lot, and are beginning to speak out about it.

Traffic and space are big areas of concern for a lot of student drivers. The lack of availability of passes has caused tension between drivers and administration. There have been many suggestions for solutions, but have yet to be implemented.

Pretty much every member of our community has experienced the traffic that comes in the morning on the way to school. Whether you are going onto Bardstown Road, towards Shepherdsville, towards Taylorsville or to Bullitt East, there is always stop-and-go traffic. Senior Cole Davenport, who has been driving to school since the beginning of his junior year said, “There’s only one entrance and exit to the parking lot, so in the mornings it creates a lot of traffic and that’s why a lot of people are late. And in the afternoon it takes a long time for everyone to get out.”

Safety issues also arise daily in the parking lot. Students are constantly speeding and even with teachers trying to direct traffic, it can be dangerous for kids trying to get to their car. “I feel like people worry more about how quick they can get out of the parking lot rather than worry about the safety of other drivers,” said senior Zach Hill. According to Assistant Principal Tim Ridley, approximately 10 to 12 wrecks have occurred in the student parking lot this school year so far.

Ridley has parking lot duties in the afternoon, so he has a first-hand look at what happens in the parking lot. “My first priority in the afternoon, since everyone is trying to get out of here, is to make sure people can cross safely….when people do drive recklessly, we intervene when we see it; obviously we can’t see everything,” said Ridley.

Another problem that comes with student parking is the number of spots available. Parking pass eligibility is based on grades and behavior, although there are many juniors who are eligible who were told that there weren’t enough spots, so they’d be placed on a waiting list.

Students that did not receive a parking pass often park illegally at local businesses like Kroger, Dance Unlimited and nearby restaurants. This is dangerous for these students because they face the risk of getting their car towed.

Junior Tyler Mozingo does not have a parking pass and has to park at Half-Time’s Sports Bar and Grill. “I’ve tried [to get a pass] on three different occasions and they basically told me that all the spots were accounted for,” said Mozingo. However, many say they see empty spots everyday; Davenport said that the spots to the left and the right of his own car have been empty since the beginning of the year.

There is a reason for some of the empty spots. A large number of student drivers are seniors, many of whom also participate in programs like co-op and JCTC classes, so at the end of the day it appears that there are a lot of empty spots, when in reality those spots are used by students who leave earlier in the school day. Ridley works with Angie Villarreal in the front office on parking passes as well. “I know she’s going back through because some kids have moved and things like that, so she’s trying to go back through and find out which [spots] are left open,” said Ridley.

Students do have some ideas on what the school could do to fix these issues of traffic before and after school, as well as not having enough spots for all those who want to drive to school. Across the street from Bullitt East is a corn and soybean field that many have suggested the school buy to create another parking lot. But this poses the problem of cost as well as an added safety hazard of making students cross Highway 44 during times of heavy traffic. There have even been suggestions to turn Old Mill Elementary into a separate Freshmen Academy with extra parking and using the field across the street to build a new elementary school.

Another solution could be to possibly create another entrance to the parking lot to limit the amount of traffic in the morning and get everyone out after school, as suggested by Davenport. The additional entrance could lead to the back road behind Kroger.  

Something students might not realize when they are calling for change in the parking lot is that any sort of expansion of the parking lot would have to be a board decision, and not something the school itself can start. Ridley did say that the city of Mount Washington is working with the school district to come up with a solution with the traffic.

With or without a new drastic solution, it is imperative that students be more cautious in the parking lot to ensure the safety of all drivers. If students do have ideas that may help the traffic pattern or any other issues they see in the parking lot, they are encouraged to share with Ridley and the rest of the administration.