As students return from a year of online school, many seniors were faced with a new obstacle: the school parking lot. With this year’s bus driver shortage, many parents have to drop off and pick up their kids from school, making the parking lot very crowded. This is also all of the seniors’ first time parking at school as no one had the opportunity to get a pass last year, so many are still learning parking lot etiquette.
“The first day of school I walked to my car and ended up having to wait in the parking lot until 3:40,” senior Harry Moon said. Many seniors didn’t realize how hard it would be to get out of the parking lot on the first day of school, so no one was in a rush to get out. After experiencing the chaos of the first few days of school, however, seniors now sprint out of the building to get to the parking lot.
“I carpool with one of my friends, and because we wouldn’t have time to find each other and get out in a good amount of time, we can’t park in the lot,” senior Fernando Paredes said. Many seniors, especially those carpooling, have resorted to parking at nearby friends’ houses or side streets to avoid the busy parking lot altogether.
“I think it’s gotten easier to get out of the parking lot since August, especially since Ms. Greer threatened to ticket people without a pass, but I still run to my car just in case,” Moon said. One significant cause of the long wait to get out of the parking lot was that juniors and seniors without parking passes took parking spots from those who purchased a pass. Students have seen a decrease in this behavior as Langley’s administration began ticketing those without their passes on display.
“Getting out at 2:50 helps me a lot, because I can get to my car before the parents start picking up their kids,” senior Ethan Gardner said. Another factor that has improved this chaos is the dismissal of seniors at 2:50 PM every day—5 minutes earlier than the typical dismissal time—to get a headstart on the traffic.
“In general, I’ve never spent more than 5-10 minutes waiting in our parking lot,” senior at Thomas Jefferson High School Tomas Torterola said. Compared to Langley’s parking lot, Thomas Jefferson’s is much less crowded.
“At TJ, the left turn lane coming into our school is pretty dangerous because lots of cars can be coming from the opposing lanes,” Torterola said. Every school’s parking lot has its challenges, especially since most of the students using them are fairly new drivers.
“I think some people’s driving abilities definitely play a factor in the wait to get out of the lot. I’ve seen several people struggle to pull out of their spot,” Moon said. Many of the people driving to school and parking have most likely only had their license for one to two years; as a result, some students have trouble every now and then. Unfortunately, this is another reason why it takes students so long to get out of the school parking lot every day.
“I’m glad the lot has improved, because no one enjoyed having to sit in traffic after school for 30-40 minutes,” Gartner said. Due to the changes Langley’s administration implemented, seniors now get home in a faster manner, but not without sprinting to their cars every day after they are dismissed to beat the rush.