Parking shortage puzzles FW students

Federal Way High School is under construction to accommodate the incoming freshmen due next year. As a result, the parking situation at the school has grown increasingly worse over the past two months.

Although the lot was crowded before, it was usually enough to fit most if not all of the seniors that parked there. The juniors and sophomores have only a small lot for themselves that is filled with gravel, as well as potholes.

The common nickname for the juniors’ and sophomores’ lot is “The Pit.” As students found out, this name fits the lot to the letter. It is because of the bad conditions that most juniors and sophomores try to find their way into the senior lot, even though they don’t have a senior pass to do so, and makes the parking lot more crowded than it should be.

Two more rows in the senior lot have been marked for teachers only. This was done because the side lot where some teachers parked was taken out due to the renovations.

Soon, the upper lot where many teachers continue to park will be taken out as well, to accommodate the construction. They, too, will have to park in the new marked spaces that once belonged to students in the senior lot.

Since seniors are now more cramped than before, school officials have been enforcing the rules of the parking lots much more. Any car that does not have a senior pass on it will not be able to park in the senior lot, and if such a car is found, they will be fined $10 for parking there and a car boot will be placed on a front wheel to keep the car from moving. It is the same for parking in a marked teacher’s space.

Since juniors and sophomores are now strictly forbidden to park in the senior lot, The Pit has become worse as well, and many students have been creatively parking on the street.

Due to the shortage of spaces for the students, the school opened the stadium parking lot. This has not helped as much as expected.

“I parked my car down there (at the stadium) and when I got back to my car in the afternoon to drive home, my tires had been slashed. If they’re going to take our spots and tell us to park there, they can at least make it safe for us and for our cars,” said Evan Tunnerman, a senior.

Tunnerman is not the only student bothered by the situation. Senior Travis Ishikawa said, “Many people are late because the stadium parking is so far away, plus it gets cold during the winter and that is a long walk. I personally don’t get too affected by the whole situation because I usually find a space, but I can relate to those who aren’t so lucky.”

Ishikawa said he leaves his house about 7 a.m. for a drive that takes no more than five minutes. He is at school approximately 20 minutes before class starts so he is guaranteed a space to park.

Other students have taken a different approach. Senior Danielle Barnes said, “There isn’t anything that we can do about it. Where else are the teachers supposed to park? At least they gave us the option of parking down in the stadium. They’re trying to help us out and make it a little easier on us, too.”

Teachers say that although they feel for the students, there really is nothing they can do about it.

“The whole situation is inconvenient,” said Dan Ditlefson, a math teacher. “However, we all have to make some sacrifices to make this work.”

He said the punishments for students for breaking the parking lot rules “are fitting and necessary.”

But junior Chris Adkins said the punishments “are way too extreme. (Officials) should have thought about overflow when the teachers moved in there (to the senior lot) and provided alternative space.”

Adkins said he leaves home at 6:50 a.m. in order to get a parking space. He usually parks by the pool at the front of the school, and if there is no space there, he parks around the corner by the casino next to the school. Both of these options require a bit of walking.

“It is hard on the students because many paid for a senior pass but end up not being able to park in the lot because it is too full,” said Pam Ashe, an English teacher. “I don’t believe that the kids should park in the stadium because I do not like the students walking alone in the dark in the morning to get to class. However, not many students choose to park down there. Most opt for parking on the street.”

Jaymi Hamilton is a senior at Federal Way High School.

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