School must take steps to alleviate parking problems


Cartoon by Yoanna Shushkova

Every morning I am faced with the same question as I drive down 10th Street: should I park my car in the main lot or brave the dirt lot?

A pro-con list runs through my head: if I park in the main lot, I will have to wait behind a line of cars and risk not getting a spot, but if I go to the dirt lot I will have to walk around the school to get to class and may have to drive through mud to park. The fact that I have this internal struggle on a daily basis brings to light the larger issue of the lack of adequate parking at Grady.

It is no secret that the main lot, which is supposed to be the primary location for student parking, has far from enough space to fit all of Grady’s student drivers. Even the dirt lot, which is supposed to accommodate  the overflow of students who miss out on the main lot, is often filled to the point where the only space to park is in inch-thick mud most of the year. I know I am not the only student who has parked in the dirt lot in the morning only to end up stuck with my wheels spinning in the mud in the afternoon.

With the lack of good parking, in conjunction with the strictly-enforced tardy policy, students are fighting an uphill battle. Often times, students are at school when the 8:30 morning bell rings, but they are still trying to park. Many students are either driving around the main lot, desperately searching for one of the few spots in the back of the lot that isn’t labeled ‘no parking,’ or they are rushing around the school to get into the building since the administration has recently started locking the gate between the trailers and the dirt lot in the morning.

If we think this is bad, it is only going to get exponentially worse in the next couple of years. This year, Grady’s freshman class has almost 400 students. As more and more students start driving themselves to school in the years to come, the limited parking will become even more problematic. With the way things are going now, it will start to become something of a gladiator-style battle as kids fight for a chance to get a parking spot. Especially as the community expands and new renovations, including the proposed development on Monroe Drive and 10th Street are considered, it is even more likely that Grady will see more crowding. As the community grows, parking will need to adjust to accommodate an expanding student body.

According to the Atlanta Board of Education, Grady will undergo a major renovation in 2021 that will expand the school and accommodate for overcrowding. Since this expansion would include the construction of a  new $22 million dollar wing and will likely extend into the dirt lot, many are hopeful that this renovation would also mean a more permanent solution for parking. Despite this, students should not have to wait over three years for their school to provide them with adequate parking spaces.

Students who are tardy due to a lack of school-provided parking shouldn’t face the consequences of arriving past 8:30 a.m. Of course, some students could be guaranteed spots by arriving earlier in the morning, but some students have morning scheduling conflicts, live farther away, or are made late by the infamous Atlanta traffic. Students’ biggest stress in the morning should be making it to class on time, not whether or not they will have to struggle to find parking. Grady needs to create a solution to ensure that students are guaranteed space to park.