Parking and pick-up rules shift routines

School adjusts procedures for second time this school year


Illustration courtesy of Cal High administration

Cal High’s new plan to minimize parking lot congestion during pick-up and drop-off was announced on Oct. 3 and it includes reopening the horseshoe in front of the admin building. Administrators had closed the horseshoe for the first two months of school.

Addison Jing and Daniela Noubleau

It might be a new year, but Cal High students are still experiencing problems with traffic and parking, with a few new twists and turns in this windy road.
Last year, about a quarter of the student body started school at 7:30 a.m. because they had an A period, according to school enrollment figures provided by administration. Now, students say 10-15 minutes have been added to their morning commutes, with all 2,881 students arriving to Cal at once. This is due to the new schedule creating an 8:30 start time.
“It gets really bad so I come earlier to avoid the traffic,” senior Anya Mahajan said. “I get to the backlot around 8:05-8:10.”
Senior Isabel Talwar said her drive to school is twice as long compared to last year.
“It takes me 30 minutes to drive to school, but I live two miles away,” Talwar said.
And that’s just getting to campus. Some students also say they’re now waiting 20-30 minutes after fifth or sixth periods end to even leave the parking lot. Parents picking up students on campus forms a bottle neck that leads to increased congestion, due to a new pick-up procedure being implemented.
“I’ll just wait till there’s no traffic,” senior Hunter Scruggs said. “I’ll just stay here [in the back lot].”
Other students also share the same sentiment.
“After school there’s so much traffic, so I just wait it out and then I leave,” said Mahajan. “I have to wait like 30 minutes.”
At the start of the school year, parents were asked to enter the back lot which serves as a student exit, turn in front of the band room and pick up students in front of the administration building. But admin realized this change was creating more congestion, so on Oct. 3 they changed pick-up procedures.
Parents heading north on Broadmoor Drive still follow the same procedure of turning into the back lot, but parents heading south on Broadmoor are no longer forced to enter the back lot since the horseshoe in front of the administration building has been reopened for student pick up, where as it was previously blocked off.
Administrators are hoping that these changes will help alleviate some of the congestion, but it seems traffic will always be an issue.
“The school was built for a couple hundred people 50 years ago in a residential neighborhood,” assistant principal Jeff Osborn said. “So, it is a matter of design.”
Administrators created a change in the student parking lot this school year by adding numbers to all spaces. Unlike years past, students are now required to park in their numbered spot, which they chose when they paid for their parking permits.
“Last year’s administrative team had the plan of putting numbers in the parking lot,” Osborn said. “So this was not a new concept. This is something that we identified issues with last year.”
The change was made to help prevent students who pay for a parking permit having their spots taken by students who don’t.Some students like this change.
“I think it does [benefit students] because I don’t have to worry about where to park,” senior Jordyn Porter said. “It was all already figured out,”
Senior Dylan Farrell believes that having the numbered spots prevents people from getting their spot taken, which he said happened to him repeatedly last school year.
“I personally think the numbers are a good choice because I don’t like people taking my spot,” Farrell said.
But the change to assigned parking spots doesn’t mean students are parking in the spots that they are supposed to park in.
“I’ve gotten emails saying ‘Hey someone’s in my spot,’” Osborn said.
Students who are caught not parking in their designated space or without a permit will be issued a ticket after one warning. Tickets issued through the school are still $35, the same as last year.
The same rules apply to students who park in staff spots in the main parking lot, as well as the parking spots in front of the band room and outside the pool deck.
“Last year it was a big problem because I parked at the front of the school and a lot of kids were parking there, and it clearly says staff on it,” biology teacher Erica Steadman said. “So when I was coming back from lunch, I didn’t have a space available for me because there were kids parking there and it upset me.”
Despite the implementation of the numbering of parking spaces, it seems the greatest problem involving parking on campus will continue to be students taking spaces that they didn’t purchase permits for.
In September, The Californian checked 150 cars parked in the back student lot on two separate occasions. Staff members found that 31 and 34 cars did not have permits. Last spring, The Californian checked 150 cars in the back lot twice in two months and found that 32 and 44 cars did not have permits, which is an increase from the pervious year.
Administrators said that due to a lack of staffing to monitor the back lot, fewer students were being ticketed for parking illegally. Administrators and teachers are hoping that some of the old parking problems don’t resurface again during the school year.
“I personally have not had any problems [parking], but I also get here pretty early,” health and biology teacher Patrick O’Brien said. “Some teachers just have a problem coming in because the staff spots are in [the same parking lot as the students].”
Editors Kylie Thomsen and Saachi Sharma contributed to this story.