Number of student parking spots spikes; seniors relieved

The+number+of+available+parking+spots+for+students+has+dramatically+increased+this+year.

Rohin Dahiya

The number of available parking spots for students has dramatically increased this year.

By Samantha Wang

Administrators designated approximately 300 parking spots for academically eligible seniors this year, up from last year’s roughly 210 student parking permits. The increase, which was due to the near-completion of Whitman’s addition, reduced many students’ stress surrounding securing a parking pass.

The addition’s progression over the summer allowed for the removal of the portables in Whitman’s main lot, and for the completion of an extra parking lot for staff in front of the new building. The portables’ elimination and the new staff lot led the total number of parking spots for students and staff to rise to almost 500.

Staff picked eligible seniors for parking spots based primarily on recognition of extracurricular activities that require transportation after school. The parking permit package, which administrators informed seniors about via email in August, included a separate, non-refundable fee of $37.50 per semester.

A number of seniors who obtained a pass said they felt relieved and that they were grateful that more students received a parking spot.

“It’s great the school has expanded the number of parking spots available for students,” senior Sarah Donner said. “The additional spaces help release the tension of fighting for a pass.”

In previous years, some students took significant measures to secure one of the limited parking permits, with a few going so far as to camp outside of Whitman for almost 12 hours

Senior Valentine Lauwers agreed that the additional spots have made driving to school more convenient for many students. However, the sheer number of seniors has made parking suboptimal for her, especially since students don’t have designated spots, she said. 

“Although we have more open spots and passes, the parking lot is always full and it’s hard to find spots,” Lauwers said.

Despite the expanded number of places to park, the permit application process confused some upperclassmen. Administrators emailed students in August to clarify that Whitman would hold “open parking” for the first week of school, during which Business Administrator Maria Hawkins would give applicable seniors their permits. This system caused Donner to feel disconcerted, she said. 

“I saw that a lot of my peers had chosen to bring in all the required paperwork regardless of the emails that said we didn’t have to,” Donner said. “ I was scared that I wasn’t going to get a pass since I didn’t bring any of the paperwork.”

Senior Colin DelToro shared similar frustrations about the application process.

“It was really difficult to know what was due and what we had to do,” DelToro said. “I had to find everything out secondhand from my friends, rather than getting information from the school website or any of the staff.”

In contrast, Lauwers said she believed the process allowed for flexibility. For example, although she couldn’t submit her required documents to Whitman’s main office face-to-face during the designated week to submit the papers, she found an alternate way to finalize her application. 

“I was on vacation at the time, so I couldn’t submit my documents in person,” Lauwers said. “So I just scanned them.”

Regardless of any difficulties, Donner, Lauwers and DelToro all managed to receive parking passes, streamlining their commute to school and extracurricular activities. 

“It was definitely worth the effort of coming to school at 7 in the morning to beat the long line in front of the counselor’s office to get a pass,” Donner said. “I still don’t know why we have to pay almost $40, though.”