Student Parking: Who’s the Real Villain?


Marek Horgas

A sunrise illuminated student vehicles in the parking lot by North Field, the site of the parking conflict during the 7 AM hour, before the lot filled up. The photo was taken at roughly 7:50 on February 14, 2023.

Marek Horgas, Staff Writer

Across the street from State High, tensions have been mounting. Over the past few weeks, students who drive have experienced increasing stress over the current parking situation. Recently, the issue of parking in the student lot (the North Lot) has reached a new strata after winter break. 

Since returning to school in the new year, students have been noticing changes in regards to parking. Students are receiving warnings primarily about parking without passes, facing threats of getting towed. And, students with passes are outraged over the fact that the passes they paid for are not guaranteeing them a parking spot. This is even more pronounced in people that have Senior Option in the mornings. When they go to park with a pass, there are no spots left for them to use at the time they come in to school.

Jason Walker is the Director of Safety and Security, who has parking under his jurisdiction. According to Walker, the cause for the second semester uptick in violations is, “kids com[ing] back from Christmas break and they got a new car, got a license, and they want to drive it around.” 

Contrary to the simplicity of this explanation, the story is not nearly so cut and dry.

One of the other details that may be contributing to the problem is the fact that more parking passes are issued than there are spots. Walker noted that the North Lot has roughly 300 parking spaces, but the school will sell over 300 passes given that people cannot be expected to fill every space every day.

More importantly, Walker cited another cause to be understaffing last year. As staff was spread thinner, it enabled less important matters, including student parking, to be neglected by administration. Although staffing shortages are a cause this year, Walker emphasized that this is not a new struggle. 

“It’s been a problem as long as I’ve been here, about 24 years,” Walker said.  

Another factor contributing to the parking problem is a lack of physical spots this year. The school has well over 2,000 students and if as much as half of them are student drivers, there is only enough space in the North Lot for less than one third of those drivers. 

“Recently, I was coming in late to school for an appointment and it was like I drove around three times before I found a spot,” Senior Adam Lieb explained. 

Although Lieb focused primarily on the lack of spaces, many seniors solely place the blame on underclassmen who take up space without passes. Even without underclassmen taking spots they did not pay for, a pass still will guarantee a place to park given the over-distribution of student passes. Despite all of this, even Lieb – a senior who is typically empathetic to the plight of underclassmen– said that the situation is, “simply unfair to seniors with passes.”

No matter what is the true cause of the issue, it continues to be a problem, divisions between students remain strong, and the towing away of students without passes continues.