A great day to be a Wildkit … unless you’re a senior without a parking pass

Good morning! Or is it?! It’s not. Why? Because, I’m a senior without a parking pass. Let me elaborate. 

It is frequently difficult to find a parking spot near ETHS, because the requirement of  district permits limits street availability. Additionally, street parking fills up rapidly. This results in a time-consuming wild goose chase for a spot and creates an unpredictable variable where students can’t predict how long it will take them to get into the building. If I had a nickel for every time I was late to school because I struggled to park, I’d have money equivalent to all of the City of Evanston tickets I’ve acquired. (Note that neither safety nor the attendance office have any mercy on those who request to move their car because they are moments away from receiving a $75 street cleaning ticket.)

But, the solution, as has been so eloquently explained to me by various administrators, is to arrive at school earlier. To this I have two responses. Firstly, seniors are already exhausted and overwhelmed and the extra 15 minutes of sleep has a large and necessary impact. Furthermore, as a senior, I think that I deserve the right to time my mornings so that I cross the threshold of my first period class exactly as the bell squeaks its way out of the intercom. Secondly, I have tried getting to school earlier and, oftentimes, street parking is full anyways. 

But let’s think about getting to school really, really early – at 5:45 AM, per se. I have to be on deck for water polo before 6:00 a.m.. This means that I have to either park my car on the street and then walk to Door 3 or I have to park in the lot and then move my car after practice. I refuse to walk who knows how far in the frigid, inky darkness of mid-March at 5:40 a.m., so I elect to move my car, which creates a stressful haste after practice. Furthermore, at times, safety has refused to let me leave to move my car after practice (unless I slip through Door 3), despite it being before school has begun. 

So what about after school? My STEAM DTI class held a forum where students asked questions of Dr. Witherspoon. When I asked about a solution to feeling nervous walking to my car alone at night after my activity, Witherspoon confidently explained to me that I should just move my car in the time between the end of school and the start of my activity. Let’s analyze that. Firstly, there is no time. For water polo practices, I am expected to be changed and on deck before 4:00pm. The time it takes to exit the school amidst the trampling mobs of exiting students, walk to ones car, and then return to the parking lot, (which more closely resembles Chicago rush hour or bumper cars on ice than an actual parking lot), and then rush back into school, change, and arrive on deck is longer than can be accomplished in the allotted time. There are two impacts to this. Firstly, students face repercussions for being late to their sport. Secondly, pre-activity time is valuable whether this be talking to a coach/sponsor or bonding with your team. For me, the 15 minutes to interact with my debate team before 4:00 pm practice were always valuable. Seniors, especially, deserve to indulge in these moments because it is their last chance to do so before graduating.   

Now, let’s transition to distribution. Parking pass distribution is executed via random drawing. In my opinion, seniors should get priority. Let me clarify that when I say “priority” I very strongly mean that as: every single parking pass goes to a senior until there are no seniors left who request one. If there is one parking pass left over, then one singular lucky junior gets randomly selected to have it. Why should it be this way? For a few reasons. Firstly, seniors have the highest stakes year and the school should make the effort to make it as painless and possible. This includes not adding on factors which make things more complicated or frustrating. Additionally, seniors are likely to have more responsibilities which are more greatly impacted by not having a parking pass. Secondly, In my satirical, informal opinion, Juniors are terrible drivers. I have never seen a junior parallel park successfully on their first try or back out of a parking spot without almost running over a freshman. Finally, if the norm becomes that seniors get passes, then that avoids how, under the current model, there is a chance that a student won’t get a pass junior or senior year if they never win the raffle. 

My proposition is for students to rank their preferred parking lots after receiving their schedule. For example, athletes may prefer a parking spot outside of door three, because that is where they will consistently enter and exit for their sport. A student whose first or last period classes tend to be in the north or east wing, may prefer the lot at the front of the school. Upon ranking these, parking pass distributions ought to be made with the intention of giving as many SENIORS their first choice lot as possible. Whatever number of spots that remain will go to juniors by random selection. 

Now, one may ask, “Well how on earth are we to actually accomplish this?” So my answer is that if students can Rick Roll the entire school, administration can find at least one person capable of coding an algorithm that can successfully execute the system that gives seniors the parking passes they deserve.