Crawling Out of the Parking Lot

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  • Out of 721 parking spots in the student parking lost, Kayleigh Frye has spot 491

    photo by Catalina Sanchez

Junior and senior student drivers pour from the school’s doors at the end of the day in an effort to avoid parking lot traffic. Unfortunately, many are met with the same long queue of cars trying to exit. As of press time, there is no plan in place to change the current system of dismissing students. The few that escape in a timely manner do not do so without difficulty. To exit the parking lot quickly, someone either has to practically sprint to their car or rely on a generous car letting them through – essentially sneaking in front of the buses. Otherwise, the reality most drivers are faced with is patience and time. 

SHS School Security Officer’s Richard Smith and Dennis Raines do their best to keep traffic afoot. Starting at the root of the long lines are the traffic cones, placed strategically by the officers. 

“Dennis does the parking lot in the morning,” Smith said. “I’m out on Enon Street as part of the Stafford County Safety and Security Department to keep the flow of traffic there.”

Despite their responsibility to re-enforce  the schools code of conduct, the two work cohesively to direct traffic. 

“Dennis does the parking lot to make sure, sort of monitor the behavior of students and make sure they are arriving into the building safely,” Smith said. “After school we both do the traffic circle and our job is to basically get the buses out first when we see them coming.” Smith said. “We will stop traffic and have the bus line go, after that we sort of let it flow.” 

Currently, seniors get first dibs when it comes to obtaining a parking pass, then juniors and sophomores. Seniors who leave early should not have the luxury of parking closer to the school than the underclassmen who leave at 3:35. When there is very little traffic to contend with, students should have the trade off of walking a few extra minutes to their car.

 In addition, the school should allow students who drive to leave minutes earlier than the students who ride the buses. Currently, student drivers are released from class only slightly before buses are announced over the intercom. Allowing student drivers to leave five minutes earlier would allow for a considerable amount of students to exit the parking lot before getting stuck behind a line of buses. 

An increase in  students leaving by car would allow for the parking lot to clear faster, but it would also cause the students who are riding buses to be put on the backburner. While the goal of the county is to get more students who are riding buses out of the school first, there needs to be an equal trade off between who gets to leave when. This means that students, for now, will be stuck in the same long line, if they cannot exit before the buses.

The equal trade off would be that those driving are prioritized just as much as those who take the bus, after all, the students who drive to school are also students of Stafford County. Students who are able to get to their cars quickly are able to leave school as fast as those riding the bus, if school was let out earlier. 

Overall, this solution would allow for more students to leave the parking lot quickly by dismissal. This solution continues to prioritize the students who ride the county owned buses. After the allotted five minutes have passed, buses would start exiting the school and the normal procedure with the cones would start.

This proposed solution would solve an issue that has plagued SHS for all of the 2021-2022 school year. And as for next year, students who drive will be able to get out of school and to their outside commitments faster.