Let’s just get one thing straight: We don’t have unrealistically high expectations for all Shaker Heights High School parkers. You do not have to be a race car driver to know how to park.
In case you were wondering, yes, this is a bash at all of you obnoxious parkers out there. You know who you are. And to those reading this with a clean slate, we salute you and your selfless dedication to the student body’s sanity.
Now, onto the bad parkers, the rabble-rousers, the reasons we are losing all faith in humanity. First, let us ask: who do you think you are? To quote pop star Sara Bareilles, “Who died, and made you king of everything?”
People, pull yourselves together. You sat through endless driving school classes. You fought with your parents behind the wheel. You conquered the orange cones of maneuverability. Oh, and don’t forget the white poles. Those infuriating white poles. Our point is that all that suffering should have created average parking ability.
But instead, what do we get? Parallel parking jobs left half done. Cars parked two feet from the curb. Half-car lengths left in front and behind cars. Seriously, do you enjoy inflicting such pain on parkers every morning? Do you sit around at night plotting your next parking move? If so, kudos to you. You sure know how to start our mornings off the wrong way!
Trust us, we know what we are talking about and have stories to prove it.
Alexandra’s parking experience
I accidentally overslept, which was my fault. But cut me a break, I’m a junior. Any sanity I had disappeared the moment I stepped foot in this building on the first day of school. I pulled up to school 15 minutes before second period, which should have been more than enough time to find a parking spot, walk into school, stop at my locker, and get to second period on time.
There were absolutely no parking spots. None. Zilch. Zero. All I experienced driving around the oval a dozen times were infuriating parking jobs and growing hatred for high school drivers. So I faced two choices: park on the other side of South Woodland, more commonly known as Narnia, and be late to second period after my trek inside, or give up, go to Starbucks, and try my luck after second period. Well, anyone who knows me would knows I chose the latter. But the thing is, there shouldn’t have been a latter. People, I beg, I plead, I grovel, I cry out in anguish: learn how to park!
Ella’s parking experience
I leave my house just before 7 each morning to secure a good parking spot. Every night my sister groans when I tell her what time I will be leaving the next day and begs my parents to drive her at a time nearer to the first bell. I mean why get to school an hour before it starts if you don’t have to? It may seem ridiculous when I am likely to find a spot even 10 or 15 minutes later. However, my good spot, the first one by the science wing, thank you very much, grants me a shorter trek inside. Although it may seem neurotic, it’s worth missing a little sleep.
Yet I am not a morning person and don’t enjoy waking up obscenely early. If I weren’t so desperate to get the perfect spot, I would happily sleep in until 7:30 everyday. I envy the people who do sleep until then. What I also envy: the sheer number of faculty spots available right next to the school; the spots that are still empty while students are parking half a mile away.
Nevertheless, we do not blame all parking treachery on students. Rather, we blame the parking policy. The faculty at our high school alone have three parking lots. But, that’s not enough, is it? Our considerate high school has also designated a chunk of the Oval for staff only in a 2012 policy, shrinking student parking by 45 Toyota Solaras.
“Because this will reduce the number of spaces available for student parking around the Oval, students who drive to school should give themselves a few extra minutes in the morning to find a spot,” the school stated, when they issued the new policy. A few extra minutes? We, among a student army of others, can attest that we now have to get to school an hour before it even starts to be guaranteed a spot. An hour. Just let that sink in.
Now we know that the permit-parking section of the oval is almost never full, so we wondered, how much does the staff really need the “necessary” extra parking? Don’t worry, we did the math. Here are the facts:
There are exactly 217 free spaces for the faculty to park in, not including the 14 handicapped and one reserved for the nurse. With the added approximation of 45 spots from permit parking, that puts the count at 262 parking spots. According to the staff list on shaker.org, there are 240 staff members at the high school. That’s an extra 22 spots that could be given to student drivers, if not already filled by parents or other visitors.
Recently, we asked 400 students in grades 10, 11 and 12 if they drive to school, and 165 said they do. Given that there are about 400 students per grade, and roughly three quarters of the school are eligible to get their license by the end of each school year (sophomores, juniors and seniors), based on this random sampling, there will be about 495 student drivers by the end of the year. That’s more than twice the number of staff members.
So what do you say, student drivers? Let’s make a change and get back the spots we rightfully deserve. And please, let’s learn how to park. Am I ‘Rite?