Facing high demand for staff parking, Los Altos added an exclusive staff parking row in the student parking lot. The row is specially marked to distinguish it from student parking and is the third row in the lot. The change came during the week of August 29.
Recent improvements to Los Altos’ East Drive to increase safety for pedestrians and bikers took away parking space that was available last year. The reduction of staff parking options, heightened by Los Altos’ growing number of staff, created a problem: too many cars, not enough parking spots.
“In some ways there wasn’t any choice,” Assistant Principal Galen Rosenberg said. “We needed the additional parking space and there’s nowhere else to put it, [so] that’s where it goes.”
Rosenberg, Facilities Manager Mike Woodworth and Principal Wynne Satterwhite decided to carry out the change after receiving feedback from staff.
“We went over the numbers of staff parking spaces available,” Rosenberg said. “We weren’t quite sure what the demand was going to be…but we definitely got some concern in the first week or two of school that there wasn’t enough staff parking.”
Prior to the addition of the row, finding a spot in the limited staff parking was often a lost cause for some teachers. The new row of staff parking alleviated much of this issue.
“I’m a part time teacher, and those first couple weeks of school, I never got a spot in a staff spot,” acting teacher Nancy Moran said. “I always had to park in a student [spot], and I was always worried that I would get a ticket. Now, I get here during third period, and I always have a spot.”
Due to the addition of the new row, which has 24 parking spaces, Los Altos distributed 25 fewer student parking permits than last year. The application process gave spots to every senior that applied and used a lottery system to fill the remaining spots with juniors. A total of 59 juniors received permits, and 39 were left on the waitlist.
“The staff parking row brings with [it] a mixed bag of feelings,” junior Allison Wang said. “It brings into question whether or not, with the growing number of students and teachers, staff parking will expand more into the student parking lot and force more students to scramble for parking spots elsewhere.”
As a result of growing student enrollment, parking will likely be an ongoing issue. Rosenberg cited an interest in making the permit system more accommodating to students for whom driving to school is a necessity.
“I think we should be more thoughtful about [the way permits are distributed]. Because at this point it’s just sort of random,” Rosenberg said. “There’s probably a student who really should be able to drive, who didn’t get a permit, and [a] student who lives three blocks from school who did, and that doesn’t seem fair to me.”