Starting this fall, the school will strictly enforce its policy prohibiting students from parking on neighboring streets, including Halkirk Street. Students caught violating the rule will be punished severely, receiving an unexcused absence and being sent home that day. By truly removing off-campus parking, the school hopes to reduce demand, increase ride-sharing among students and improve relations with the neighbors. Though the school may be able to accomplish some goals, it will do so at a heavy price for certain students.
After the school scrapped plans for a new parking garage due to heavy opposition from members of the surrounding community, it seems the administration decided the next best solution to the parking issue would be to reduce the amount of available parking. The removal of Halkirk Street as a free parking option puts many sophomore and junior drivers in a precarious position without a realistic solution. Students who have not held their license for a year may not legally drive anyone under 20 years old without a licensed adult accompanying them. Therefore, they must pay the full $1,300 to park in one of the Saint Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church parking lots, break the law to receive a reduced fee, have their parents drive them or take the bus.
As a solo driver with a provisional license, I must pay the full price for a parking spot. I am not legally permitted to transport passengers under the age of 20 and am not willing to break the law to lower my parking fee. Although I understand why the school charges heavy fees for students unwilling to carpool, not being able to do so legally is an entirely different situation. Furthermore, as a student athlete, I have a schedule that eliminates the possibility of carpooling with another student driving.
For working parents, driving children to school can cause conflicts with work schedules and is often not a viable option. And while taking the bus allows parents to get to work on time, it provides little financial relief, as the bus fee and the price of a solo driver parking spot are now the same.
Although the school had an issue with students parking illegally eight years ago, there have not been any significant complaints since. Furthermore, the complaint that the “quiet streets are being filled with cars” is unfounded. Cars already regularly pass through Halkirk Street, Alcove Avenue and Goodall Avenue to avoid the busy intersection between Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Ventura Boulevard. Additionally, students are generally respectful and keep noise levels down while walking to and from surrounding streets, and parked cars make no noise whatsoever.
If the school truly wishes to solve the parking situation and improve relations with the neighbors, the only fair solution is forcing all students to take the bus or be driven.
All students taking the bus, excluding those receiving financial aid, would pay the same price for transportation, and parents driving to school would have to deal with the resulting inconveniences.
As this proposition is extreme and unfeasible, the school’s decision to strictly enforce a prohibition of student parking on Halkirk Street and other surrounding streets has ultimately caused many more headaches than it has solved problems.