By Prithi Srinivasan
Every Pinewood student begins and ends his or her day in the same place: the parking lot. Despite the many rules implemented to ensure parking, drop off and pick up run as smoothly as possible, many students have mixed feelings about how effective they are.
In order to improve the flow of traffic entering and leaving the school, the parking lot has two lanes, one intended for waiting and the other for driving. There is also a separation for drop-off and pick-up between junior high and high school students to reduce the amount of traffic in the parking lot.
“As a driver, I like how senior island helps guide traffic in the parking lot better. Driving around senior island makes driving into school less chaotic,” sophomore Lizzy Ahrens said.
Issues with parking begin to arise when these regulations are not necessarily followed by drivers, students and parents alike. Even though junior high and high school drop off and pick up are separated, cars intending to enter the junior high section during rush hour often prevent high school parents and students from passing. In the case of the two lane system, the rules are often disregarded as drivers wait or attempt to drive in either lane.
“Either we should make it more clear what each lane is for … or we should have two lanes throughout the entire parking lot to prevent junior high traffic from backing up high schoolers,” sophomore Magnolia Lemmon said.
The biggest issue of contention in the Pinewood parking lot, however, is the size. As more and more students get licensed to drive, it becomes harder for them to find parking spots. Double parking spaces have been introduced to combat this dilemma, but these have introduced a new host of problems.
“It’s hard to leave school on time if you are double-parked in a spot—they are really hard to get out of. Also in the middle of the day, class is sometimes interrupted for announcements that someone needs to move their car,” Lemmon said.
Another issue that has emerged due to a lack of parking spaces to accommodate the growing community of Pinewood drivers is the exclusivity of senior island. With limited spaces available, some non-seniors have begun to look for extra parking in senior island, much to the dismay of many seniors.
“I feel like it’s unfair for juniors to park in the senior parking area because they are going to get their turn eventually—but it’s our turn now.” senior Alexa Brown said.
As the class sizes get larger and more students get licensed, the parking lot’s efficiency will continue to be tested. In light of Pinewood’s renovation plans, some student drivers have begun to consider changes that may improve traffic and parking.
“It would be really helpful if we could find a way to get more spots and widen the lanes—but there is only so much we can do in such a small school,” Brown said.