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The parking puzzle: How Redwood addresses student parking needs

The layout of the Facilities Master Plan was finalized in February 2022 and includes many new fixtures and improvements. (Photo Courtesy of TUHSD)

For those without a parking permit, parking at Redwood has always been difficult. Sophomore row and Piper Park are filled with students’ cars every day. Unfortunately, the 2022 Facilities Master Plan doesn’t recognize parking as a high priority, even though many students still struggle with finding a spot. Passed in April 2022 by the Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) Board, the Facilities Master Plan included the approval for the construction of new classroom buildings to replace outdated portable classrooms, air conditioning in all classrooms and roof replacements. A large addition from the plan to the parking lots is solar canopies and electric vehicle car charging stations that will be added to the back parking lot. This construction was originally supposed to occur in the summer of 2023 but was postponed. It is now expected to be completed in the summer of 2024. Mike Woolard, Senior Director of Facilities Planning for TUHSD noted that this would have reduced student parking for the 2023-2024 school year. 

“Originally, we were supposed to do that project starting about now [the beginning of the 2023 school year] on the back parking lot, which would have dramatically impacted parking. Matter of fact, we had plans to turn the [junior varsity] baseball field into a temporary parking lot and also some parking spaces on the outdoor basketball courts next to the portables. But because we had some issues with the geology of the soils underneath the parking lot, it’s taken a little bit longer to get approval from the state, so we have postponed that construction to this summer,” Woolard said.

Despite no reductions in parking this year, all students are not given parking spots. Many are given to seniors or those who carpool with other students or siblings. Along with many students, junior Callie Horn has no parking spot. 

“I realized I have to get [to sophomore row] early if I want to get a [parking] spot. There was one case where I got there too late and there was nothing available. It was really stressful [to find a spot without being late to class],” Horn said. 

The first few days when students were given their assigned parking spaces, the lots filled up quickly, as well as nearby street parking like in sophomore row. Many students failed to find a parking spot and even resorted to parking in neighborhoods, including Horn. 

“One time when there was no spot at sophomore row, I went to [park in] my friend’s neighborhood and then I got a ticket for $100,” Horn said. 

Despite students’ stress about parking, Mike Woolard reviewed the documents pertaining to the plan.

“To my knowledge from reviewing the [Facilities Master Plan] document again, as it was passed back in April, there’s nothing specifically saying we need to increase parking spaces [at Redwood],” Woolard said. “We’re just trying to balance it with the other priorities we think we need to fix before we address [the parking situation],” 

Woolard also added that one reason why parking wasn’t a top priority for the plan was the increased number of bike riders and the usage of E-bikes. The Facilities Master Plan does include increased bike racks and bike storage areas. 

Another reason parking is difficult to add is because of the area’s geography. Redwood is surrounded by wetlands and Doherty Drive is on the north side of the campus, making expansion difficult. An additional reason is the declining enrollment of students, which shows that even if more parking were added, it wouldn’t be necessary after a few years.  

Even though new parking isn’t going to be added to the campus in the 2023 school year, Woolard is trying to increase access while also following through with the high-priority items of the plan.

“Even though [Redwood has] the largest parking and most parking spaces per student [in the district], it still doesn’t seem [to be] enough at times. I completely understand that,” Woolard said.

For now, the Facilities Master Plan is going to address the higher-priority projects at Redwood, which will hopefully make improvements despite the lack of additional student parking spots.

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About the Contributor
Morgan Sicklick
Morgan Sicklick is a sophomore at Redwood and is in the nonfiction class. She enjoys playing water polo, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends.