Parking Solution May Be Around Corner

Claire Mendelson, Editor-in-Chief

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Off-campus lunch, the opportunity to delve into a particular field through the seminar or mentorship programs, and a more spacious commons area are just a few of the many perks senior year brings. A guaranteed parking pass also stands out as a benefit of getting through three years of Maggie Walker, allowing seniors (and the few juniors with a coveted pass from the lottery) more freedom and the ability to drive to school. Recently, however, the security of this privilege seems tenuous at best as more and more people without passes park in the lot. Additionally, some students with a pass have purchased a second sticker to sell to underclassmen, further crowding the lot. At the beginning of the year, students with a pass could arrive at school at 8:40 and find plenty of spots left; now, the overfilled parking lot necessitates a much earlier arrival time to ensure a spot.

While the bus transportation system doesn’t work for students who play sports or participate in certain extracurricular activities, driving to school doesn’t necessarily require a parking pass. Students without a pass have always had the option to park on public streets in close proximity to the school. However, parking on these side streets is less efficient, less convenient, and less safe than parking in a designated lot. Space constraints limit the ability of Maggie Walker to expand the size of the parking lot, but a nearby lot and good neighbor present the opportunity for a creative solution to our current parking problem.

The James River Bus Lines parking lot is conveniently located in close proximity to Maggie Walker, and is already used by the school for events like back-to-school night.

Photo courtesy of Google Earth
The James River Bus Lines parking lot is conveniently located in close proximity to Maggie Walker, and is already used by the school for events like back-to-school night.

Historically, the school has partnered with James River Bus Lines, conveniently located next to Maggie Walker, for events like back-to-school night in order to provide additional parking due to an overflow in the lot. James River is already generous enough to make part of their lot available to Maggie Walker throughout the year, and perhaps they would be open to allotting a portion of their parking spaces to students for use during the school year. Underclassmen and juniors without a pass from the lottery could purchase a pass for the James River lot, and thus have an opportunity to drive to school with all of the perks of parking in the school lot without infringing on the senior privilege.

This proposed solution has the potential to benefit both parties. The school could donate a portion of the profits from selling the additional parking passes to James River, and then use the remainder of the proceeds to support the various booster groups. Maggie Walker could also publicly thank James River Bus Lines for their generosity, generating free publicity for the company. The students of Maggie Walker would perhaps be the biggest beneficiaries — seniors could regain their privilege to park in the school lot without concern over a full lot, and students of all other grade levels would have the opportunity to drive to school with increased ease and convenience.

Recently, our conversations have been packed with deliberations over the honor policy and Honor Council, and it seems as if there isn’t room for discussion of anything else. However, the parking lot is packed and running out of room, and this, too, demands attention.

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