By AISHEE DAS
Some students without permits have been using the parking lots, leaving those with permits without spots. This has raised concerns about the scarcity of parking spaces.
Students must buy parking permits for $35 at the beginning of each semester to park in the UHS parking lots.
The $35 fee for a parking permit goes towards general security. Through the funding from permits, UHS has new security and supplies.
Parking permits are sold based on the exact number of parking spaces available. There are 337 student parking spaces and parking permits sold.
Students with over 12 unexcused absences or tardies were not allowed to purchase permits. This semester, the permits were sold out in 2 weeks.
“We don’t want to sell more passes than there are spaces because that doesn’t guarantee you a spot,” said Dr. Kevin Astor (Principal). “We want a structure where if you buy a permit, you are guaranteed a spot.”
“This has never been a problem in the past years, so we are surprised,” said Astor. “Right now, there are students who are simply ignoring the fact that you need a permit to park which leads other students who paid for a permit to not have spaces. It’s obviously not fair to those who paid to not have a guaranteed parking spot.”
Many students believe that it is unfair that everyone does not have parking spaces.
“I think it’s completely unacceptable that every student who drives to school doesn’t have a place to park,” said Kurun Reddy (Sr.).
“How do they expect us to get to class if we don’t have a parent at home in the morning? Why do we have race to be able to transport ourselves to school?”
Rockview Drive is the only location where students can park without violating city ordinances. It is a 5 minute walk from school. A map is available in the office and on the school website to direct students to this location.
If any cars are parked in the middle of the road or in non-spaces, the school will consider calling a towing company.
Students who are parking without permits will receive “Warning” stickers on their cars.
Repeat offenders will receive Saturday school, boots on their car and parking tickets. Taking off the car boot costs $25. Parking tickets will start at $28, and towing costs are around $160-180.
According to Mr. Michael Georgino (Asst. Principal), no students have been ticketed yet. On March 11, however, 66 cars were parked without a permit and on March 15, 91 cars were parked without a permit, leaving those with a permit to park illegally or go off campus.
Administration is now urging students with permits to place permit stickers in their designated locations to avoid receiving Saturday school or car boots. Some students have received Saturday schools because their stickers were not on their cars even if they had purchased a permit.
Students with parking permits who are forced to park in staff parking will no longer receive Saturday school.
Some students think that the best solution would be to sell parking permits with priority to seniors, juniors and sophomores in that order.
Administration is currently looking into that solution for next year. Administration is also looking into having reserved spots for next year, following structures like that of Beckman High School.
According to Astor, there is more staff parking because the staff must be able to park. In addition, the staff is expanding along with the growing school population, so the school needs room for future expansion.
Irvine Police Department cars have been parking horizontally over staff parking to save multiple spots for staff.
Students have also complained that the traffic cones in the morning do not allow students to search all of the lot without exiting and reentering. Administration has decided, however, to keep the cones because it keeps the traffic flowing in the morning.
At the Homeroom Senate meeting on March 16, one student suggested that UHS make a parking structure because of the projected rise in the school’s population. Mr. Matthew Pate (Asst. Principal) explained that creating such a structure would need a lot of funding and would need to be approved by the district and city of Irvine, which he did not see happening soon.
“We hope that with continued consistent enforcement that students will follow parking guidelines,” said Georgino. “The best solution would be for students without a permit to find alternate ways to get to school [e.g. bus, bike, walk, carpool, drop off].”