Portables added to parking lot, students find alternative parking methods


Joey Sussman

Due to construction for Whitman’s upcoming addition, new portables arrived last spring, cutting student parking spaces from 289 to 150 this year.

By Ben Stricker

With portables in the parking lot and the upcoming Whittier Woods renovations, only 150 parking spaces are available this year; there used to be 289 spaces available to students. Several students have around found alternative parking methods in response to the new policy. Some seniors without parking passes still park in the lot, and several neighborhood students have begun renting their driveways as parking spaces.

76 students who met the first criteria for getting a parking pass — being a senior and having an internship for school credit or taking classes at another MCPS school or Montgomery College — were given passes first. 74 other seniors who met the secondary criteria of having extracurricular activities and no obligations were entered into a lottery system and randomly drawn to fill the remainder of parking spots.

“We’ve tried to make the process as transparent as possible,” Business Administrator Libby Hillard said, who also distributes the parking passes.   

Only students with parking passes are allowed to park in the student parking lot, but some seniors ignore the policy and park their car wherever they find an open spot. If caught, the students’ cars could be towed.  

“I still park in the parking lot even without a parking pass,” an anonymous senior said. “When there are no spots, I’ll just park in a handicap or visitor spot, which is convenient since it is right in front of the school.”

Some students who live near Whitman have been renting out their driveways. A few of these students have been arranging their sales since the end of last school year, with the support of their parents. The fees vary per house, a senior said.

“When I heard about the parking situation at school, I immediately thought that it was in my best interest to sell spots in my driveway,” a junior said. “It’s too hard to sell street parking because the pass is no longer on the windshield; it’s through your license plate number.”

In total, 238 students applied for parking this year. Last year, when there were 289 spaces available, they all would have received passes. Many seniors didn’t bother to apply for a pass this year since they thought the chances of receiving one were so slim. 

“I knew there was no chance that I would get a parking pass, so I didn’t bother applying,” senior Matt Ryan said. “I have a friend who lives 20 minutes away, and he applied and didn’t get one, so I knew they wouldn’t even consider giving me one.”