Instagram account shares student car collisions in school parking lot

Julian Andreone

A student-run Instagram account resumed posting pictures of unsuccessful parking jobs and car accidents in the Upper School lot in August after an 18-month-long hiatus that started when campus closed Mar. 11, 2020.

In the first few weeks of school, students reported several instances of scrapes and collisions in the parking lot to the school to @hw.parking. Upper School Student Discipline and Attendance Coordinator Gabriel Preciado said security guards informed him of around three to four accidents this school year, but he approximates there have been around 15-20 collisions that students have dealt with themselves.

Administration shares their thoughts on possible solutions to parking issues

Head of Upper School Beth Slattery said she was unaware of the account’s increased activity and was not informed of accidents in the parking lot. She said it is possible, though, that these incidents are occurring without her knowledge.

Slattery said she acknowledges the troubles students face in the parking lot but cited student demand for parking as the reason they cannot widen spaces. She said the River Park project will open more space for future students to park.

“Those parking spots are really small, [but] we couldn’t accommodate the demand if we made them any wider,” Slattery said. “Long-term, I would think that River Park will actually change [the issue]. River Park changes the need for the use of athletic facilities on campus, and so many things will be able to be moved to River Park.”

In October 2017, the school faced opposition from the Studio City community for plans to build a parking structure on Coldwater Canyon Avenue. At the time, President Rick Commons said he acknowledged the residents’ concerns about the school’s parking plans. Eventually, the City Planning Committee rejected the school’s plan, limiting students to on-campus parking lots and street parking.

Students reflect on why the accidents and collisions occur

Shanti Hinkin ’22 said accidents should be expected with new drivers but are exceedingly common this school year. She said although a bigger parking lot would solve some of these issues, it may not be plausible considering the lack of space to renovate on Coldwater Canyon Avenue.

“I think the parking lot accidents are certainly not a new occurrence, and frankly [they’re] to be expected,” Hinkin said. “We are all new drivers, so I can’t imagine there wouldn’t be scratches here and there.”

Terence Matthews ’23 said students will inevitably park poorly and cause accidents because he said the school parking lot is inconveniently constructed and needs more space.

“I feel like the parking at the Upper School sets students up for failure,” Matthews said. “There are very narrow roads leading into the parking lots and a lot of parking spaces that are difficult to get into because of a lack of space. The school would do its students a great service by adding more places for students to park.”