Students face shortage of parking availability

Om Patel , staff reporter

The application for parking permits for the incoming Junior Class was sent out at 7:29 a.m. It took three minutes for the remaining 200 spots available for juniors before they were all taken, Ron Bean, Dean of Students, says.

The application process works on a first-come, first-serve basis. First, incoming seniors are sent an email to apply for a permit. After one week, the application is open to incoming juniors. Bean says the application process is competitive, but the administration is looking for ways to improve it.

“We are always looking at our processes,” Bean said. “At the end of the year, Mr. Garrison and myself will sit down and take a look at parking and see if there is a better way for us to do it next year and in the years after that.”

When a certain threshold of applications is reached, the administration cuts off any new submissions, even though there are still open spaces available, Dean Sean Garrison says. He adds that this is done to account for delays in form submissions which fill in the rest of the spaces.

“There’s this middle ground where I shut it off and I still have some [applications] coming in that were filled out before the cut off,” Garrison said.

Typically, students who did not receive a parking pass will find alternative parking at other buildings around the area like Pioneer Press. An official statement came out on May 23 which confirmed whether or not parking will be available, according to Bean. Meanwhile, the Glenview Ice Center is undergoing renovations and is not distributing parking next school year, Bean says. According to Principal Dr. Lauren Fagel, the nearby temple sells 30 spots.

Sophomore Michael Zhang is affected in this situation.  Without a pass, Zhang says, his parents are forced to drive him to school for early bird.

“Next year I have early bird P.E. and my parents do not have time to [drive] me [every day],” Zhang said. “My parents don’t want to [drive] me, but I guess they’ll have to.”

Compared to other schools, South has done more to serve students for parking, Garrison says. A few years ago, three maintenance sheds were removed for around 300 parking spots to be built.

“[Parking] isn’t a property right, it’s a privilege,” Garrison said. “We knocked three buildings down so we could get more parking for students and a lot of schools don’t want to incur that cost.”

Despite all the space added, Bean feels that the parking situation is a challenge and that there is no available space that can be converted to parking.

“We are a landlocked school; we don’t have the space to provide parking for everyone,” Bean said. “We would lose athletic fields and we know how important those athletic spaces are.”

Zhang adds that decreasing the time between the senior and junior applications could be beneficial.

“For the seniors that are really late to get a pass I don’t think they deserve one because the upcoming juniors have to get a pass right away,” Zhang said.

Bean and Fagel believe the demand for parking will never be met no matter what changes the makes.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever be at a place where the number of space we have will match the number of students that we have in the Junior and Senior class,” Bean said.