The Parking War

The teachers and students have been battling for spots in the lot for years, but this year it’s different


 A student arrives at school a minute after the first bell rings—it’s 8:41 AM. After circling the Summit High School parking lot too many times to count, the only place available to park is along the fire lane, so you make a choice: either risk being booted and fined or leave the one open place and find a spot on the street, compromising valuable class time.

 The Summit High School parking lot has been an ongoing issue due to sophomores, juniors and seniors sharing a parking lot with limited spaces. Parking passes were thought to resolve a bit of the crisis of finding parking each morning, but this is not the case. As more and more students get their license and begin to drive to school, empty parking spots get more scarce.

Current options for student parking are the three parking lots in the front of the school or the streets around the school—Northwest Crossing Drive, Northwest Clearwater Drive and Northwest Discovery Park Drive.

 For the first time since before COVID-19—the $25 parking passes are back and quickly sold out within the first two months. Parking in the Summit lots without a pass is supposed to result in a fine, but it seems that this may not even be enforced. 

 “I have been parking in the lot for almost 3 months without a pass, and I haven’t gotten a warning, booted or anything,” said an anonymous Summit High School student.

It’s clear that they haven’t been super harsh on checking every single car in the lot, as students still park without a pass. Why ask students to pay $25 and not even enforce this procedure?

The issue of Summit High School parking has gotten so bad that multiple businesses such as COPA and Steele Bodies have repeatedly told students not to park in their lots. Students caught parking there will have the punishment of being towed. If we had more options for parking that weren’t so far away, maybe that wouldn’t be an issue.

Now, we are healthy young adults that are more than capable of parking farther away to leave the businesses alone, leave the visitor parking open and park in legal spots, but the issue with parking farther away is managing the time it takes, especially if it takes us 10 minutes to even find a spot, let alone walk from there to class.

“I get here at 8:00, solely to find a parking spot in the morning,” said Summit sophomore Emma Conklin.

If you happen to get to school late and end up parallel parking—if you know how—on a street where it takes 10 minutes to get into school after circling for what seems like forever, you end up being even later to class.

With the limited space, students have resorted to using the handicap accessible spaces, visitor parking, snow mounds, grass hills and red curbs, resulting in booting and fines.

The 1st offense is a warning and/or $35 fine, the 2nd offense is a $35 fine, the 3rd offense is a $35 fine and your car gets booted and the 4th offense is suspension of parking privileges for the remainder of the semester.

“I don’t park in the parking lot in the morning because I don’t want to buy a pass for $25 if I won’t even get a spot in the morning, so I get here around 8:00 and park on the street,” said Summit sophomore Baird Lemmon.

Adding to the increasingly difficult parking fiasco that is the Summit High School parking lot, teachers have decided they like to park in the student parking lot better than their own designated staff parking lot. This year, the school even designated some of the student parking to teachers.

“I personally park in the front parking lot, as it is the closest spot next to my classroom, so I’m not walking across the school in the morning,” said Theater Arts teacher Lara Okamoto. It may shave a minute off teachers’ morning routes to class, but for students this simple act by faculty can add over 10 minutes—finding a spot, parking and walking to class including signing in.

“I think it’s unfair that teachers use our spots when they have their own parking lot, there’s so many of us with limited parking space and way less teachers then students” said Conklin.

You will hear more and more students complaining about this development.

To make the situation worse, parents dropping off their kids take up parking in the morning until the very last minute, parking in the nearest spots to drop off students. Do they not know the drop off circle—situated right in front of the school—is a perfectly viable spot to leave their children?

For a lot of students, more space available for people with parking passes would be a good option, especially for those who aren’t able to get to Summit early enough in the morning to get one. All in all, the parking lot is and might always be an issue, but hearing the students thoughts on the matter is a starting point.