Head to Head: Should the current student parking system be changed?
April 22, 2022
In the wake of increased ticketing due to illegal parking in the student parking lots, Sophomore Comment Section editors Abby Hyken and Stella Maximuk argue over whether the current student parking system at Midtown should be changed.
Current parking system is sufficient, does not need to be changed
Midtown’s first-come, first-served parking system is not perfect. However, considering Midtown’s location and size, it is the fairest system under these circumstances and doesn’t need to be changed, despite the parking issues Midtown students and staff face.
Due to the location of the BeltLine and other popular businesses, along with residential neighborhoods, the streets surrounding the school are almost always full of cars. While parking lots are available, students are only allowed to park in two of the lots. The third is reserved for staff only. Therefore, it is no surprise that there are parking shortages.
With the current system, students who drive often have to leave early in the morning in order to get a spot. Those who want or need parking spots have the opportunity to ensure they get one by parking early in one of the two lots, while those who are late have to find parking spots in the surrounding neighborhood. While this does create an inconvenience, all students have an equal chance to get a parking spot, making this system fair.
The alternative to the current system is assigned parking, or the usage of parking passes. This system is implemented by North Atlanta High School, among others, but would not be a sufficient approach for Midtown because the parking space is very limited and giving out parking passes to every student who wants to drive is not feasible.
This would mean that students who actually needed a parking spot, such as students who work after school or are dual enrolled, would not be guaranteed a spot. Students who only drive to school for comfort could claim the limited spots and potentially cause the working and dual enrollment students to face more serious consequences. Druid Hills also has limited parking, and distributes passes first to students who actually need one, such as dual enrolled, limited day and senior students. While this system could work, it would only be successful for a short period of time.
Not all dual enrollment students have off-campus classes year round. Some classes are only half a semester and having a job year round isn’t guaranteed either. If these students were to receive a year-long pass when they wouldn’t need one, it would further limit parking space and destroy the idea of equity surrounding this proposed system.
There are other issues regarding assigned parking or parking passes — costs. At North Atlanta, parking spots cost $75 for the whole year, or $50 per semester. Maynard Jackson High School also uses parking passes, but they are $35. The cost of a hypothetical parking pass at Midtown needs to be considered carefully. If the cost was similar to North Atlanta, it is possible some students might not be able to afford a pass or feel reluctant to pay.
If this were the case, these students would have to park around the school, in the residential neighborhood. If a large number of students park there, it would inevitably bother the residents and could create problems for the school.
Midtown has access to the BeltLine, Piedmont Park and has a reliable bus system. If students do not want to utilize any of these options, they can always carpool with others or be dropped off by a parent. However, clearly from the amount of parking issues Midtown has, students who drive for comfort don’t want to use these options. If they did not receive a parking pass and are forced to use these options, many will likely complain.
The first-come, first-served system is fair and should continue to be used. Regardless of classes and money, by coming to school early, it allows anyone who wants a parking spot to get one. While it is far from perfect, the current system is the most effective for Midtown’s circumstances. Assigned parking and parking passes, on the other hand, stop students from having an equal opportunity and create too many problems.
Stella Maximuk is a first-year staffer on The Southerner. She plays softball, enjoys video games, and likes to cook.
New system for parking needed, spots assigned at beginning of year
Parking at our school has always been disorganized, and the threats of fines and towing cars from the administration have not made it any better. Arriving at school in the morning is like entering a free-for-all — everyone is scrambling to find parking spots that won’t result in them getting a ticket or being towed. However, due to the lack of parking spots, oftentimes students end up parking in no-parking zones or in handicap spaces, risking a ticket.
This issue can be easily resolved by implementing an assigned parking spot system. Druid Hills High School uses this system and parking goes much more smoothly. At the beginning of the year, students can sign up for a parking spot and are assigned spots through a lottery. Preference is given to seniors, dual enrollment students and students who have minimum school days. Midtown should adopt a similar system in order to decrease the chaos of the current parking system.
If a student does not receive a spot from the lottery, there are plenty of other ways to get to school. Students can carpool, have a parent drop them off or ride Atlanta Public Schools provided transportation to get to school. This allows parking to be much more efficient, as students will know exactly where to park and will not struggle to find a spot in the morning.
However, the lottery system does have some flaws. There is not enough parking for everyone on the Midtown campus, so if a student does not receive a spot, they will have to find another form of transportation or park off-campus. Given that Midtown only has two small parking lots, a lot of students would need to find another ride to school or would have to park off campus and walk to school from their car.
At Druid Hills, there is only one parking lot and a few extra scattered spaces around the campus, so students who do not receive a spot often end up parking in surrounding neighborhoods, causing congestion. Even without the assigned parking system, Midtown still has the same issue. Students park on surrounding streets and clog them during school start and release hours. Considering that Midtown has slightly more parking than Druid Hills, assigned parking would decrease congestion on side streets and the scramble to find a parking spot because students would know exactly where to park.
In the case of students parking in the wrong spot or taking another student’s spot, administration could call for the student to move their car, or in extreme scenarios, cars could be towed. This would let students know that the system is official and is being taken seriously, as opposed to lightly shrugging off threats of fines that are being threatened by administration now.
Adopting this assigned parking system would make parking at Midtown much easier and efficient. Students will not have to battle for parking spots in the morning and arriving at school will be much more relaxed, in addition to decreasing congestion on surrounding streets.
Abby Hyken is a first-year writer for the paper. She is a member of the debate team and is excited to write for the Southerner this year.