Palmetto’s Parking Problems Seek Attention with Imminent Construction

Sabrina Catalan, copy editor

The prospect of construction at Palmetto represents the idea of a more efficient school. One issue for students, parking, is seeking administrative attention with the arrival of new buildings on campus.

Seniors Michael Fein and Drew Latta, members of The Educational Excellence School Advisory Council and Parent-Teacher-Student Association, attended a meeting addressing future plans for parking and are concerned as to whether parking spaces will be reduced. They said that teachers also worry that there will be nails and debris around school, leading many to not want to park near the construction sites.

“I definitely think that once construction starts, the side of 120th [street] will be basically a construction zone like it was this summer but it’s going to be even more so,” Fein said. “It’s probably going to become a big issue.”

Fein said that students already experience issues with parking on campus.

“I think the biggest problem is that the junior [parking] lot floods and the senior [parking] lot has only one exit that is ever open, so there’s a lot of traffic after school for about 20 minutes in the senior lot,” Fein said. “And in the junior lot, when it rains, you lose one row of parking and that leads to a backup, so then people end up parking in the teacher lot and then get [violation stickers] on their car.”

Junior Ellie Kline once found her car stranded amid a large puddle after a rainy day at school and said it was not a pleasant encounter.

“My car was parked right in the middle of the flood, so when I first saw it my thought was ‘how do I get to my car?’” Kline said. “It was horrible. I had to walk right through the flood and I had to get into the car with wet shoes.”

Kline sees the potential for this problem to occur more frequently during wet seasons, when the junior parking lot undergoes heavy rain.

“[The flooding] can come again if it rains, but I don’t think there’s a way to fix it,” Kline said. “That’s just the way the lot is.”

Donnie Martin, a security guard at Palmetto, also recognizes the parking issues that students, parents and administration face during busy mornings and afternoons.

“[I notice parking issues] in the mornings and always after school because they are so many parents and buses and students [arriving and leaving at once],” Martin said. “And then students can’t get out of the parking lots because of the traffic. Then people double park and it causes just a bigger congestion around the whole perimeter of the school from 77th [avenue] to 120th [street]  to 118th [street], and 74th avenue.”

Another student at Palmetto, senior Luis Hines, experienced his own share of difficulties when trying to find parking in the morning and has come up with a solution that works for him.

“Some of the problems I face when parking in the morning is not having enough time to park or not having anywhere to park. I have been late to school because of traffic,” Hines said. “I’ve tried getting here earlier, parking in different places, but for the most part [I get] here earlier so that I have time to walk into school and not be late to my first period.”

Latta is making a petition in hopes of having administration improve parking conditions for its students, parents and faculty.

“[Latta’s] goal is to get enough student action, so that someone takes action in some way,” Fein said. “So for the senior lot, there is another gate that can be opened and we are trying to get administration to open that gate, so that it can reduce traffic after school. For the junior lot, I feel like it requires a whole restructuring of the drainage system because the flooding is pretty bad or letting students park in the teacher’s lot without getting [violation stickers] on their car.”

As Palmetto’s buildings on campus gets transformed into a state-of-the-art high school, students and faculty prompt for a redesign of the parking lot and traffic regulations as well to better accommodate its current and future Panthers.