A recent increase in illegal parking has led to a rise in the ticketing of student drivers. According to Assistant Principal Cristy Dawson and Principal Wynne Satterwhite, this increase has multiple factors, but the main cause is the number of sophomores getting their driver’s licenses.
“The sophomores are starting to get legal,” Satterwhite said. “Of course they want to drive, and many of the seniors don’t have first or second periods, and many sophomores do.”
The administration became aware of this problem through student complaints. According to Satterwhite, Dawson is able to collect feedback from students in ASB, which supplemented other such complaints.
“When seniors can’t get to class, they complain more,” Satterwhite said.
Senior Roshan Burns, who has a free first period, has noticed the rise in illegal parking this semester.
“I normally get [to school] like five minutes before second,” Roshan said. “Normally there are spots in the boonies by where the preschool parking lot is, but there are never spots in the normal parking space.”
Roshan has also had difficulty finding a spot in the student parking lot after lunch.
According to senior Erik Strom there is often “just not a parking space at all,” even after lunch.
“The other day I got there at the start of sixth period, and “[the parking lot] was full,” Erik said.
Students are not eligible for parking permits until their junior year, regardless of age. Sophomore Julia Cox, who got her license last June, has been driving to school throughout the year and has felt the effects of student ticketing.
“I normally park in the back, but I parked in the parking lot in November,” Julia said. “I got a ticket, so I didn’t park there again.”
Sophomore Rachel Nelson, who has been driving since December, attributes the rise in illegal parking partially to the lack of other available parking space.
“There are so many ‘No Parking’ signs on the street,” Rachel said. “I got a ticket because I was late for school, and I couldn’t walk that far.”
Juniors who were unable to purchase a parking permit at the beginning of the school year have also been affected by the increase in ticketing. An anonymous male junior has been ticketed twice. Although he bought a permit from a senior who graduated early, he understands the rationale behind illegal parking.
“It’s too inconvenient to park elsewhere,” he said. “It’s easier to go out to lunch if you park in the parking lot.”
Although the school itself does not administer tickets, the Los Altos Police come to the campus to ticket students. The police occasionally come on their own, but the administration does call the police when illegal parking gets out of control. Students who are ticketed must pay $26.
Satterwhite attributes the problem to the rise in student population. This year’s senior class contains 382 students, while this year’s junior class contains 409 students. Though gaps between class sizes are decreasing, the sophomore class consists of 432 students.
“The difference is growing less and less,” Satterwhite has said. “Our school has increased in size — our parking lot has not.”
Although the increase in class sizes has augmented the problem, Satterwhite says that the increase in illegal parking during second semester has occurred in the past.
“This time of year, we just blame it on the sophomores,” Satterwhite said.