Grady Parking Lot Presents Problems for New and Experienced Drivers

Jack Hudson

The Grady parking lot is a hotbed for minor and serious accidents. The few accidents that have been serious back up traffic, delay classes and create hazardous situations for other students.

The main causes for these collisions are the dangerous turns drivers are forced to make, the lack of visibility from cars parked on 10th  Street, the absence of staff supervision and the lack of space throughout the parking lots.

In order to turn from the main and gravel lots, drivers have to creep past the line of cars parked on 10th Street. Doing this is a gamble. The road could be completely empty or an 18 wheeler might be barreling toward you. If someone pulls out too far, they put their front bumper in danger of being torn off.

There has already been an accident at the gravel lot entrance this year, and last year, there was a more serious accident that sprayed the main entrance with shattered parts. Teachers had to direct traffic while the wreckage was cleared. Because of the accident, classes were delayed and students were forced to fill the other parking options to maximum capacity.

Drivers who are turning right focus on the traffic coming from the left; many times they forget to check for pedestrians coming from the opposite direction. Walkers, runners and joggers fill the sidewalks in front of the school due to its close proximity to Piedmont Park. When an opportunity to turn arises, drivers have to act fast. Once they turn their heads, a pedestrian could already be on the hood of their car.

Inexperience is a major factor; there is a combination of drivers who got their licenses a month ago and some who have been driving for over a year. As motorists see more situations and learn how to deal with them, they stop taking so many risks and putting themselves and others in unnecessary danger. Having more adult supervision, whether, a police officer or staff member, would stop those new drivers from backing into cars, making dangerous turns and hitting pedestrians.

Turning left onto to 10th Street is a nightmare. With no police officer directing traffic, people are forced to wait an upwards of 10 minutes for an opening. Usually that window of time is too small, which causes even more dangerous turns. Having a police officer directing traffic would bring more clarity to who has the right-of-way and when someone can and cannot turn.

There are too many close calls with nothing being done to fix the problem. Parking should be restricted on 10th Street  in front of the parking lots to allow better visibility for people leaving school. No longer would drivers have to peek through their windshields, crane their necks to see oncoming vehicles and put their front bumpers in danger. Those who are turning into the lot would be able to see who is pulling out, and they would not have to worry about hitting someone sitting in the exit lane.

Both parking lot entrances are not wide enough. Cars narrowly miss the granite which bounds the main lot entrance, mirrors are nearly torn off and paint jobs are threatened. When cars turn in, drivers have to stop to allow others to pass through. If the entrances were widened, traffic would flow much easier.

Initiative needs to be taken; the school’s staff and students need to work together to disallow parking on 10th Street, to widen the entrances and to have more direction during school hours and events. As a result, fewer accidents will occur and driving to school will be much more student friendly.

 

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