By JERRY HUANG
When the bell rings, students race to their cars, only to be stuck in an unwelcome sea of traffic, inching forward for up to half an hour on some days.
With a growing population of over 2,000 seniors, juniors and sophomores yet only around 350 student parking spots packed in an insufficiently sized parking lot, it is no surprise that there are safety and traffic flow problems that plaguing the system.
With regards to this situation, Mr. Kough (Admin.) said, “Our biggest problem is our population here at the school has outgrown the actual facility, so we don’t have adequate parking for the number of student drivers that we have.” Naturally, with more student drivers and pedestrians there is a higher chance of accidents. School administration states they are planning to prevent unnecessary traffic by informing parents of the designated drop off and pick up zones, and Kough states, “We’ve made some real conscious efforts … through our email information campaign, sending stuff home to parents, and our security between the Senior Lot and 1000s building.”
By eliminating excess traffic in areas with a dense student population, admin hopes to improve the traffic flow and keep the students safe. However, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to navigate through the parking lot with caution. As cell phones are becoming a more prevalent distraction, Kough warned, “We need the kids just to be situationally alert, and off their phones.”
As for the drivers, Kough asks for them to, “Watch your speed in the parking lot, because there are kids that are walking around with earbuds and on their phones that are not paying attention… and when you do park and you get out, make sure you’re watching and being situationally aware of what’s going on.”
School administrators are not the only ones that wish to address these safety issues. Nikhil Prabhakar (Sr.) notices that in many instances, he spots “many students … specifically seniors… that use their phones and cellular devices while driving, so many times they’re just looking down and I can tell that they’re distracted.”
There are numerous campaigns that urge drivers to not text and drive, yet there are too many people who prioritize texting over the safety of themselves and those around them. Ikram Hassan (Sr.), who has also experienced this problem, expresses grave concern for the safety of these students. She has observed, “When exiting the parking lot there are a lot of kids that just walk in front of cars without even making eye contact, and it’s very dangerous for their safety.” Nora Azadi (Sr.), who frequently passes through the senior lot, wishes for “people who are driving to go a little slower, because we’re all teenagers and we’re stupid so we might jump in front of a car without realizing it, and it’s just not safe for the driver and the pedestrian.”
Unfortunately, this is simply the ugly truth. One wonders, what will it take to really get the message across to these distracted drivers?