The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Trouble in the Student Lot

The student lot is intended for juniors and seniors who have paid for a parking permit.

The overcrowding in the student parking lot has gotten worse this year with numerous parents unfamiliar with Woodside’s drop-off methods, causing confusion, more traffic, and taking student spaces.

As a senior this year, and my own ride to school, I am more than familiar with the traffic in the student lot. Though the seniors and juniors parking in the student lot have never had the chance to experience a full parking lot, they still understand the ins and outs of the student parking lot. For the parents, this isn’t so true. With last school year never quite returning to full capacity, two full grades of new parents have to learn Woodside’s drop-off plan, leading to the unpredicted consequences of an over-packed student lot. 

The school staff tried earlier this year to close one of the gates to the circle to create traffic flow but found that parents complained of too much traffic. Even with the gate open, many parents have complained to the administrators about the amount of time it takes for pick up and drop off.

Chuck Velschow, Woodside’s AVP, has seen parents not following the outlined traffic pattern and instead using the student lot as a parking lot, rather than just passing through it. 

“Ideally, parents are just sticking with the methods that are outlined,” Velschow said. “I know that I see the parents going in, and then they turn around in the student lot. And then they come out of the student lot,… and they’re kind of slowing that down… I know in the afternoon, there’s parents who sneak in, find space in the student parking lot, wait, and then they exit that way. So that’s another problem.”

As a freshman, I still remember my senior sister’s constant reminders to run to the student lot the second the bell rang in order to get out before the student traffic picked up. Always being the last person to leave every class, I often found ourselves stuck in this traffic. Although students themselves undoubtedly cause some of the problems in the student parking lot, the real problem stems from the sheer number of parents using the lot.

“In past years, [parents] just drove to the circle, and there were a couple that drove the student lot, but not to the degree that it is today,” Greta Hachigian-Kreutzer, a Woodside senior noted.

Woodside senior Elise Hadidi noticed the same trend with this year’s parking lot.

“When I was a freshman my brother drove me to school and… so I was in the student parking lot,” Hadidi said. “I don’t remember ever being as busy as it was now, and I definitely don’t remember seeing as many parents as there were.”

Some of the parents drop off their students against the guided path and end up blocking the student lot exit for students trying to get in and out of the student lot. 

“There’s been more parents that are speeding a lot for no reason, [and] more blocking and just sitting there, for no reason, in the middle,” Hachigian-Kreutzer said.

These Woodside seniors, myself included, also encounter issues with confused parents. 

“I’ve had a few incidents with parents,” Elise Arana, Woodside senior said. “This morning, a parent was taking a student’s spot, and then as I was trying to get in, they aggressively pulled out… They were just not looking around for students… There’s been a lot of instances with [parents] just taking spots that we need.”

Woodside senior Dylan Mack had a similar story about parent drivers taking up both lanes.

“A couple of weeks ago, there’s this white Subaru [in the] middle row… and there was another car,” Mack described. “They thought it was a two way road. So we’re just stuck there, and then they had to back up… There are two cars coming at me…, and they were going super fast. They almost hit me actually. I was almost late to class too.”

Hachigian-Kreutzer got very close to being hit by a speeding parent driver in the student lot.

“This woman [was] driving at 25[mph] straight out, wasn’t paying attention to anything, and literally almost clipped the side of my car while I was turning in because she didn’t have her turn signal on, and she just wasn’t paying attention,” Hachigian-Kreutzer said.

Rowan Fox, a Woodside junior had her own fear inducing, near accident with a parent driver.

“A couple of days ago, I was driving in and a parent almost hit my car because we were going opposite ways, but they were… in the middle of the lane,” Fox explained. “So, I couldn’t really do anything about it.”

Hadidi, who doesn’t have a seventh-period class, often leaves school and comes back for sports practice. On multiple occasions, she’s gotten stuck in the pickup traffic overcrowding the student lot.

“I’ve had a couple times where I’ve been going to tennis after school, and I’ve been late because I came too early before the bell,” Hadidi said. “There [were] a bunch of parents in the back of the student parking lot because that’s the way that traffic is going. I think… it’s just hard because [parents in the student lot] just really extrapolates the issue with the student parking lot being super busy and really chaotic.”

I have also had a host of my own issues with some of the parents who use the student lot for pick up and drop off. 

During my rush to get to my first period on time, two parents blocked the road while trying to turn out of my lane.  The first parent stopped in the middle of the lane and held a conversation with their student, blocking a second parent trying to get out of the student lot in the middle lane. The student only got out when the second parent honked. I managed to get into my spot but not to get to class on time.

While still in the process of writing this article, I had a parent honk at me while I wasn’t even in my car. A couple of minutes after school, I put my bag down in the passenger seat and while walking to the driver’s side,  I ran into a friend with whom I had to clarify plans, and we ended up talking for around 2 minutes. When I went to open my car door, the parent who had parked behind me honked. She honked because I had not gotten out of my parking spot, and she did not want to reverse and would rather have me move first. I just looked back at her confused, as she, with an exasperated expression, put the car in reverse.

This is a map of the paths that parents can follow to pick up and drop off their students. (Claire Manuel)

This year, with all the confusion about dropping off students, it’s important for parents to get clarification. There are two locations where parents can drop off their kids.

“[Parents have] two entry points,” Velschow explained. “If they want to drop off on campus, they can come in from Faculty Lane, come in from Alameda, come up, drop off, and then continue out… They can come in from Churchill, and they can go through either the student lot and then they’ll have to yield or mess with the people coming from the facility lane. Or, they just come in through the main circle, roam around, drop off in a circle and then exit that way.”

While these are just a few of the many issues I and other students have had with the parents in the student lot, the main issue is a matter of space. With limited spots in past years only allowing upperclassmen to be able to get parking passes for the student lot, there is never enough space. As more and more students get their licenses and parking permits, the student lot will only continue to get more crowded and chaotic. The last thing that the student lot needs at this point is more people without passes parking in the student lot, especially if they aren’t even Woodside students. As a student with a parking pass parking in the student lot, I ask that the parents dropping off and picking up their students follow the outlined paths.


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About the Contributor
Claire Manuel
Claire Manuel, Online Editor
Claire Manuel is a senior, third-year journalist, and is Online Editor for The Paw Print. She is interested in writing about current events and arts and entertainment. She plays for the Woodside tennis and lacrosse teams, is involved in leadership, is co-secretary of the Octagon Club, and is an SOS freshman transition leader.

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