I wake up at 6:30 a.m., quickly shower, and race out the door. I arrive at Redwood more than 20 minutes before the first bell rings, but still struggle to find a parking spot and resort to parking illegally. It’s an issue many upperclassmen have come to experience, and with increasing class sizes, parking is only going to become more difficult to find.
This leaves the administration with a variety of options. They already tried to give parking permits to only a limited number of seniors, but as expected, that didn’t end well––restricting upperclassmen from parking on campus was received negatively and any future attempts will surely be met with anger.
Upperclassmen have come to see parking on campus as a given right due to the prevalent car culture at Redwood. All previous junior classes have been allowed to park in the lots, so it’s clear why this year’s juniors would expect to also be given this right.
In response to the juniors’ negative feedback toward not receiving parking permits, the administration decided to give all juniors, as well as seniors, the ability to obtain parking permits. Distributing permits to all juniors and seniors has essentially defeated the purpose of the parking permit. It now only serves to prevent strangers and sophomores from using the parking lot.
This decision to let all upperclassman park pleases almost everyone in the short term, but will undoubtedly make the parking situation more hectic once more juniors obtain their licenses. Additionally, with continually increasing class sizes, the problem will only continue to inflate in coming years. Every year the rush to find a parking spot will motivate drivers to arrive at school earlier in the morning, thus creating a problem for students who either don’t have a first period or who live farther away from campus.
The easiest solution to this snafu is to encourage carpooling––if more students carpooled, we could cut the number of cars in the parking lot dramatically. Increased carpooling would decrease the overcrowding in the parking lot. By driving with fellow students, upperclassmen can save gas, keep their car’s total mileage lower, and reduce their environmental footprint.
Through driving fewer cars, we can reduce the amount of carbon we release, spend less on gas, and our cars can experience less wear and tear. There is also the added perk of gaining access to freeway carpool lanes, a benefit that could help cut down on commute time. Furthermore, if people choose to carpool, there will be less traffic around the school and in the parking lots, helping further reduce the time it takes to leave school.
Even without these incentives, carpooling should not seem so daunting. Students often carpool to lunch and carpool on Friday nights, so why can’t we do it in the mornings as well?
The administration should further incentivize carpooling and create an easy way for students to organize carpools throughout marin. More parking spots should be dedicated to carpool permits, and privileges should be awarded to students who carpool most often.
The administration has already implemented School Pool Marin, which can help organize carpools in the Larkspur area, but this does not expand into Kentfield, Ross, Greenbrae, or Tiburon.
If the parking situation continues to worsen, the administration should require students to carpool by restricting parking passes to certain days only, thereby making it necessary to ride with someone else a few days a week.
If everyone carpooled we likely wouldn’t need to expand our parking. But until that happens, we’ll need to make our temporary overflow parking by the tennis courts permanent or start expanding. If we don’t take precautions, we’ll find ourselves stuck with even worse parking and traffic in the future.