Staff Editorial: Parking Lot needs more exits, puts students in danger

Each day, driving in the parking lot is something that most students dread. Students sprint through the hallways just so they are able to make it out of the parking lot before all of the traffic piles up. If they are not one of the first people out, students may have to wait for over ten minutes just to leave the parking lot. To make things worse, the driving people do to avoid waiting is dangerous, not only for drivers, but for students trying to get to their cars having to dodge reckless drivers. 

 The parking lot has 190 parking spots and while not all of the spots are filled, a majority of them are. We counted that there were 125 cars parked in the parking lot during first hour. From this, we estimated that there are about 100 cars trying to get out of the parking lot on any given day as some leave early and others stay for sports. Some students go as far as driving through the lawn to get a better spot in line. Driving through the lawn is hazardous as they pull their cars straight out in front of others. It also tears up the grass and ruins the landscaping for the sculpture garden. The exit to make it out of the parking lot goes straight out to Memorial Drive, which is a very busy road. This, combined with all of the parents trying to get into the pickup line causes a long line of cars to back up in the parking lot and also on Memorial Drive. 

Memorial Drive constantly has traffic on it as it is the home of the middle and high schools, the hospital, the eye doctor and a dentist’s office. Not only is the traffic dangerous for students, it is also dangerous for all of the patients that are trying to get to these places. If an ambulance ever tries to get into the hospital when all of these cars are jammed up, it’s going to have a hard time as students are more concerned with getting out of the parking lot than paying attention to their surroundings. This year there have already been three accidents reported to the school in the parking lot from students trying to leave. It is also an issue for students who walk home. In order to cross the street, they have to dodge traffic coming in from Memorial Drive that does not always see them and also all of the student drivers that are rushing to go home after school.

One way to help the flow of traffic and to get students to leave the parking lot more quickly and safely would be to open the two gates that lead out to Oak Street. This would make it so students would have three exits from the parking lot. Oak Street is a quieter road with only residential houses on it so there is less traffic. Yes, students would be exiting out of the bus parking lot; however, with three exits, students would be able to clear entirely out of the parking lot before the buses have to leave. Choosing to open the gates would be a lot safer as students would be able to leave quickly and not have to rush to their cars and drive recklessly. There also would be less traffic on Memorial Drive which is safer for everyone. 

Students should not have to worry about getting hit by a car when they are leaving school. Opening the gates would help reduce some of the parking lot congestion making it safer for both drivers and pedestrians. Students would be able to leave school quicker and parents would be able to get into the pickup line in a more timely and organized manner.