Seniors should receive parking before others

Katherine Esterl

Students fortunate enough to own a car will soon find themselves out of luck as a massive campus construction replaces the “dirt lot” they once used for parking. Next semester, when a new building breaks ground on the lot, about 85 students will lose parking space.

With no promise of supplemental parking elsewhere on campus, it is in the school’s best interest to explicitly declare who gets to park in the main lot on 10th Street, which will remain undisturbed during the renovation.

Seniors, having already endured three years of high school, deserve priority.

To my credit, I oppose seniority in most cases. As a young thespian, I greatly appreciated my directors’ promise to ignore seniority when they cast actors of all ages. As a newspaper staffer, I noticed the same thing. No rule or precedent demanded that a senior be named editor over a sophomore, for instance. In those situations, merit mattered, and it trumped age.

But when it comes to parking, merit is of no consideration. An underclassman is just as capable of swinging a four-wheeled vehicle into a white-lined space as an upperclassman. Other bases to determine who “deserves” parking, such as individuals’ extracurriculars, are messy and subjective. The basis of seniority is simple, direct and definite.

The senior class, composed of just under 300 students, would easily fill up the main lot. Seniors are not spoiled with preferential treatment (except, perhaps in their self-established monopoly on upper-courtyard lunch seating), and guaranteed parking would be an appreciated perk.

To another point, few underclassmen need to drive. Since Georgia sets the legal driving age at 16, most sophomores are unable to drive until at least second semester, and even fewer have access to a car. Juniors may be bitter, as many currently drive themselves to school, but considering the campus’s current crampedness, someone must relinquish their driving privileges.

Students dependent on their cars may forget that other modes of transportation exist. A lack of parking may offer an opportunity for underclassmen to explore other options, many of which are less harmful to the environment.

Walking and biking are possibilities for nearby dwellers, and everyone can consider carpooling.

The school bus is also available to all students. While it may get a poor reputation, bus riding is a high school rite of passage. As someone who was always too lazy to get a license and scrape up the funds for a car, I spent three years riding the bus home, rain or shine, 90-degree heat or 20-degree chill, and learned to be resilient in all circumstances.

There were years I remember fondly, as I made friends with my kind bus driver and watched the neighborhood fly by through the window. The bus, certainly underrated, would pose an excellent alternative to those underclassmen who feel stranded without their own vehicles.

With 2020 looming right around the corner, the administration would be wise to decide on a parking plan soon, and it would be even wiser to prioritize seniors. Critics may argue that my personal senior bias invalidates my stance, but certainly they would favor seniority once they become seniors themselves.