South studies parking lot, drives toward improvements

Ashley Clark

STUCK AT SOUTH: As school lets out on a Friday afternoon, cars exiting the West Parking Lot rush to leave school, which results in standstill traffic.

Sasha Vassilyeva, staff reporter

The expansions of South’s parking lots this summer have not only increased parking spaces for students, but created traffic problems that are currently being resolved by the administration.

Currently, there are 530 spaces in the West Parking Lot and 158 spaces in the Conditional Parking Lot. Like many students, senior Megan Noone has benefited from the changes and is now able to have school parking because of the summer construction.

“It’s been beneficial for me, because sometimes I stay late at school and it’s nice to not have to call my mom, especially because she’s working now,” Noone said. “It’s nice that I do have the freedom to stay at school as late as I need to without bothering any of my family.”

While the parking additions have been beneficial, many South students have noticed an increase in congestion in the lots and adjacent roads in comparison to last year. In an Oracle-conducted survey of 160 sophomores, juniors and seniors, 42 percent have noticed this increase in traffic, regardless of whether they drive themselves to school. Senior Billy Kosmidis is one student who recognized the traffic at the beginning of the year.

“I think in comparison to last year the traffic [worsened initially because they] added a new route of entry for new vehicles,” Kosmidis said. “That caused more congestion issues and less speedier removal from the school.”

According to Gary Freund, associate principal of building operations, the school closed the Conditional Parking Lot after school on Oct. 8 to gather data on the traffic flow of the West Lot after noticing the change. The administration presented this information to Cook County and the Village of Glenview.

“We closed it because we wanted to see the effects of [an overcrowded West Lot] to gain a better understanding of the [congestion] when cars are leaving the premises,” Freund said.

As a result, Cook County has changed the timing of the traffic light on Lake Ave. to move traffic along, Freund explained.

“We can get twice as many cars out [of the parking lots] on a single light because [of] that change,” Freund said. “It’s really helped the congestion there.”

Since the beginning of the year, Kosmidis has noticed improvements in the movement of cars out of the lot and sees the effects of the administration’s effort.

“There’s been a bit of an improvement,” Kosmidis said. “I think when the Village gets involved it shows there’s a problem, [but] seeing [the administration] take a stand in fixing the issue has brought a better solution to the congestion.”

Like Kosmidis, junior Grace Kilpatrick also parks in the West Lot and has felt the changes since the beginning of the year.

“I think in the beginning of the year there was a lot more traffic and it was more unsafe,” Kilpatrick said. “Now I feel a lot more safe in my own vehicle and I think others do too.”

According to Principal Dr. Brian Wegley, the traffic in the parking lot has also been facilitated by paraprofessionals regulating traffic and helping students cross safely.

“We have a couple people [standing] in the driving lane, and we also have somebody right outside the door,” Wegley said.

Administrators hope that with the added timing on the light and help from paraprofessionals, the traffic in the West Lot will continue to decrease for a smoother exit after school. Like Kilpatrick, Wegley has also noticed that there have already been improvements.

“Hopefully [it’s been] noticed [by students that have] been exiting; it’s actually a much smoother exit [now],” Wegley said.