“Tow-Away Zone”: a solution to the persistent parking problem?

Olivia Podber

By Olivia Podber

At the end of first semester, students were briefed on a new policy requiring them to purchase $25 parking passes, allowing them to park in Grady’s main student lot.

Over the years, as the influx of students attending Grady has steadily increased, the school administration has attempted to unclog the overflowing parking lot, but to no avail. The previous solution, the dirt lot that was converted into a parking area, has become inundated with the amount of sophomores, juniors and seniors driving. The new parking passes introduced were another endeavor taken to clear out the lanes at Grady. Besides the crowding issue that administrators are hoping will be alleviated with the passes, safety is also a main concern.

“Firstly, we are implementing the passes for the safety and security of our students,” said Dr. David Propst, the assistant principal in charge of coordinating the passes. “We want to identify who doesn’t belong [at Grady] to make sure those trespassers stay off of school property. We’re also hoping that they passes will help with the traffic. We’re working on things that are going to make everything quicker.”

With the announcement of the parking passes, countless rumors circled the school, with the general consensus being that no one understood the objective for the passes, or where the money was going.

“The $25 goes back into the school, so we can buy new books and computers, among other things,” Dr. Propst said.

Although administrators hope the crowded parking lot and safety situations will improve with the introduction of the passes, many students are dubious of the officials’ weighty claims.

“I didn’t pay for one because I figure they’ll never actually enforce it,”  senior Harper Gambill said. “If they do [enforce the passes], it’ll probably be someone else who gets towed, so I didn’t get one. I think it’s a waste of time and resources.”

Many students who purchased the passes were dismayed at the thought of spending $25 to be able to park for the remnants of second semester.

“It seems like a lot of work and money to get a pass to park,” junior Cameron Newton said. “My family pays taxes, so I should be able to park at my school. The passes aren’t going to stop anyone from driving to school. It just means that the school gets $25 from each of these little stickers.”

While many students claim they are not going to be spending the money to buy the passes, the administrators promise there will be consequences for those who do not abide by the new rules.

“Signs are going to put up soon,” Dr. Propst said. “Cars are going to be booted. All that is part of the process. We’ll give a warning first, but those cars who don’t have passes will be in jeopardy of being towed.”

Other than the reactions from students regarding the implementation of the passes, many students have their own ideas about how to solve the traffic issue. In conjunction with the parking passes, there are those who believe it would be more constructive and convenient for students to have assigned parking spots. This would prevent problems arising over students without passes snagging spots in the main lot over those who paid their dues.

“Right now, some people who haven’t paid get the front parking spots, where I’ve paid and had to park on the muddy hill in the dirt lot,” senior Elizabeth Khayat said.

There are also students who take a completely different approach to trying to fix the situation. Instead of tinkering with the current idea of parking passes, Gambill believes the only way to relieve the overcrowding is to limit the number of student drivers to only upperclassmen.

“I don’t think there is a great solution,” said Gambill. “Maybe limit driving to juniors and seniors.”

No matter the response, administrators are confident that the parking passes will improve the conditions of the overfull parking lot, increase safety for the students, and raise funds along the way.

“We’re going to fix this, one step at a time,” said Dr. Propst. “Behind the safety and security of our students, the accessibility of the school is a top priority.”