New policies drive students to roll over regulations

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New policies drive students to roll over regulations

The Southerner

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NOT PERMITTED: With the closing of the gravel and stadium lots due to Music Midtown construction, students chose to park illegally in the main parking lot. From Sept. 10-24, cars were found in fire lanes, handicap parking spaces and blocking other vehicles.

Grady’s administration last month made changes to the enforcement of student parking codes and closed off the stadium lot. The additional parking constraints lead to an increase in illegally parked cars in the 72-spot parking lot on 10th Street.

“I don’t like parking in the main lot because of the traffic caused by Music Midtown and the struggle to find a real parking space,” junior Jack Faught said.

Due to limited space and the closing of the gravel and stadium lots during Music Midtown, which both accommodated overflow, students parked illegally around campus. Student vehicles often blocked fire lanes, carpool lanes, stairwells and other student vehicles.

“It is dangerous to park in fire lanes and impolite to block other students, but this is the apparent outcome of closing the stadium lot and gravel lot to students,” Faught said.

The stadium lot has 35 potentially accessible spaces for students.  On Sept. 14, the administration said any student vehicles parked in the stadium lot along 8th Street would be towed.

“This decision is not us; it’s APS’s,” Assistant Principal David Propst said. The stadium is operated by APS Athletics, not Grady.

The mandate forced the roughly 25 students who parked in the stadium to park in the main student lot. This encouraged some students to park illegally in the main lot.

“It was so much more convenient to park in the stadium lot because there is always so much traffic and the main lot is usually full. Because they said we would be towed if we parked in the stadium lot, I was forced to park in the main lot,” junior James Briggs said.

To enforce the policies, the administration issued parking permits.  Any student car without a permit can be towed. The administration tried parking permits last year but ultimately scrapped the idea because many students weren’t registering their cars.

“I believe this year it will be enforced,” Propst said.

Propst said the permits help keep the campus safe.

“We are responsible for you when you arrive on campus and the permits are all about safety,” Propst said. “We enforced it last year, and we had to tow cars. If you got away with it, you were one of the lucky ones.”

To apply for a permit, a student has to complete a form identify ing their car. Students also must sign a release giving administrators the right to conduct a random car search.

The attempt to manage existing parking coincided with the closing of the gravel lot due to Music Midtown.

Parking problems increased as Music Midtown led to lane closures and congestion on 10th Street.

“We will only be blocking out one lane of traffic and the bike lane on 10th street for a week, and this should not cause a lot of problems,” David Hellberg, the Music Midtown Director of  Operations, explained in a preliminary safety meeting a few weeks before preparation started for Music Midtown.

This year, Music Midtown took over control of Grady’s gravel lot. In addition to lanes on 10th Street, Grady donated the parking lot to Live Nation for its set up crews’ vehicles and machinery. In the days before the festival, Live Nation made very little use of the lot.

While student vehicles filled Grady’s main lot, blocking fire lines, stairwell entrances and handicap spaces, the gravel stadium lot remained nearly empty.

Junior Calder Johnson believes  there are solutions for the crowded main lot that are easy to implement and enforce with the new parking permit system.

“Obviously if the stadium lot was reopened to students and teachers there would be a lot more parking options and students would be happier and safer knowing they have places to park,” said Johnson. p

*All students drivers who are in need of a parking pass should visit the attendance office to pick up an application form.

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