Blacktop parking lot remains closed despite parking problems

Carolyn French

The blacktop behind the main gym has remained closed as a parking lot due to safety and P.E. spacing conflicts as the Redwood parking shortage this year continues to be an issue.

The lot contained 55 parking spots last year, but Principal David Sondheim cited safety as for why the lot was closed.

“That lot was not designed as a parking lot, nor does it have what’s called ingress or egress, which is the ability to enter and leave the parking lot that’s really safe,” Sondheim said. “We did a quick modification to make it possible, but it’s not designed for safety.”

Sondheim also stressed the distance of the lot from the main campus as being a safety hazard.

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The blacktop parking lot holds 55 viable parking spots.

“It is very hard to monitor that parking lot because it is further away.” Sondheim said. “[Other lots] take our three campus assistants already, and all of the sudden we would have four lots to monitor instead of three.”

Sondheim explained that P.E. classes needed the space for physical activities, and that reopening the lot would need to be discussed with the P.E. teachers.

According to Sondheim, the blacktop lot was originally opened due to the solar panel construction that took place two summers ago which temporarily compromised parking spaces in the front lot.

Sondheim also stated that parking complications resulted in the installation of 20 more parking spots in the front and back lot in hopes of improving the situation.

Although Sondheim acknowledged the negative impacts of the current lack of parking spaces, he also focused in on its potential benefits.

“My hope is that we’ll encourage people to walk, bicycle, carpool and bus here more than drive their own cars for safety and environmental issues, and obviously to reduce our parking challenge,” Sondheim said.

Although the blacktop would have made a significant difference, it would not have solved the persistent parking issues at Redwood, according to Sondheim.

Students who are able to drive are advocating for the reopening of the blacktop parking lot, according to junior Cameron Lind.

“Being able to get a parking permit this year still doesn’t take away from having to get here at 7:30 every morning just to get a parking spot,” Lind said. “The back lot is not that bad, but once the sophomores start getting their licenses it’s going to be hectic.”

Senior Tanner Jacobberger similarly stated that the influx of sophomore drivers would cause more chaos than the current situation, and added that ticketing is another result of overcrowding in the parking lots.

“For people who don’t have a first or second period, [having another lot] will limit people who have to park illegally when they get to school,” Jacobberger said. “Less people will get tickets.”

Sondheim plans to address student concerns and look further into the possibility of reopening the lot in the future as the Redwood population grow and parking becomes a more pressing issue.

“While we have made some changes for this year, [parking problems] are still ongoing,” Sondheim said. “We’re going to continue working with students, staff and parents to see how we can best address what we will never solve, but can hopefully improve.”