Twin Cities imposes residential parking permits in neighborhoods surrounding Redwood in response to student drivers

Hannah Sellers

On Sept. 13, in an email from Assistant Principal Saum Zargar, students learned of Larkspur and Corte Madera’s plan to implement a year-long pilot program

Even in the early morning, streets in the Madera Gardens neighborhood are flooded with cars.

restricting student parking in the neighborhoods adjacent to Redwood High School. According to Larkspur Mayor Ann Morrision, the parking restrictions will go into effect by the end of October. The new rule states that students are not permitted to park in the Larkspur Marina, Heatherwood Gardens or Madera Gardens from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. This change specifically targets those who did not receive a parking permit for the 2019-2020 school year. 

The ban was implemented after neighboring residents claimed reckless driving by students, among other unfavorable behaviors, which were reported to their respective town councils. 

With the morning rush of Hall and Neil Cummins bikers, in addition to traffic from Redwood drivers, safety has become a large concern. According to Madera Gardens resident Rachel Gould, there was recently a bike accident on the corner of Birch Avenue and Apache Road where two bikers crashed while exiting the Larkspur bike path amidst afterschool rush hour. The accident occurred due to lack of view around the corner from the abundance of cars parked along the sidewalk.

“Personally, it comes back mostly to the safety issue,” Gould said. “I would not want any accidents from a teenager hitting a young kid because of visibility. For me personally, that is the big issue.”

Two streets that are now requiring residential permits are William and Birch Avenue, which are common areas for students to park due to close proximity to campus. While the new permits benefit residents, students who rely on driving to school now face a problem. As Redwood continues limiting parking permits based on a student’s walking distance to school, many will be denied a spot because they live within a twenty-minute walk to Redwood. This is an issue for many of the excluded students who have after school jobs or sports practices.

Senior Sarah Fraschetti believes there should be different qualifications to gain a campus parking permit. Fraschetti lives just under the twenty-minute limit but has relied on personal transport for the past three years to participate in Varsity Tennis and Link Crew. 

 “My parents bought me a car so I could be independent and not rely on them, and now it’s kind of like that has been taken away,” Fraschetti said.

The entrance to the Larkspur Corte Madera bike path crowded with pre-school traffic.

With a car of her own, Fraschetti stated that she can schedule and attend appointments, run errands and exercise in the mornings, which, in turn, allows her parents flexibility with their schedules. According to Fraschetti, these responsibilities are preparing her to become more independent as she goes to college next year. However, without a parking permit, she says the administration is virtually taking away these liberties.

Corte Madera and Larkspur have been working closely with Redwood and Safe Routes to School (SRTS), a government-run student transportation program, to institute solutions to remaining problems. Morrision hopes these residential permits will not only improve the current parking situation for residents, but will also encourage students to bike or take public transportation.

“[Our ultimate goal is] to motivate students to carpool, bike, or walk. We have improved all of our pedestrian bicycle paths, and those who are coming even from afar, it is a safe route to school.” Morrison said.