Picture encapsulating the Huntington Beach High School student and staff parking lot. (Photography by: Caroline Gillies) (Caroline Gillies)
Picture encapsulating the Huntington Beach High School student and staff parking lot. (Photography by: Caroline Gillies)

Caroline Gillies

Huntington Beach High School Parking: Student Opinions

June 8, 2022

In simplest terms, the fight for parking at Huntington Beach High School has become a predominant problem. 

Waking up for zero and first-period classes is already a struggle, and having to worry about your car being towed or ticketed adds stress on students. Many students have voiced concerns about the growing difficulties in finding parking, as well as the chaos ensuing upon arrival.

Limited Accessibility 

The parking area is so compact and hectic that many students often feel forced to park in shopping centers like Seacliff Village, the Civic Center, and Seacliff Office Park. Thus, these areas have strengthened their HBHS student parking preventive measures. Students feel as though these places have enough parking spots for HBHS to utilize, and many believe it would be beneficial for the school to purchase or rent out some of these spots for students’ use.

“I hope to see a bigger student parking lot that will allow students of all grades to get parking spots,” said Ethan Laghaei, a junior at HBHS.

“What is the point of having so many two-hour parking spots, if no students can use them? The school should acknowledge how pointless it is, and how these spots are not practical,” Bella Lucatero, a junior student, expressed.

The front of the Huntington Beach High School Campus (HBHS). (Photography by: Caroline Gillies)

Along Main Street, as well as Worthy Park, there are lots of two-hour parking spots. Most students have a school day on campus for more than two hours, so if students choose to park in these areas the risk of receiving a ticket becomes apparent. The average student has between two-to-three, perhaps four classes a day. A single class period this year lasts an hour and a half, so why do these spots in front of the school remain if students cannot stay parked for the full duration of the school day?

“The school’s lack of acknowledgment of the school’s parking problems makes me feel like they do not care if we receive a ticket. It’s not their problem, it’s ours,” said an anonymous seventeen-year-old HBHS junior student.

“My mom cannot take me to school most of the time. So I have no choice but to park in these spots because if I don’t take the risk, I will miss school,” they continued.

The Safety Threat Traffic Imposes

The National Safety Council determined that 60% of teen drivers were likely to be on their phones while driving in school parking lots. Therefore, if the parking lots on campus are statistically considered extremely dangerous environments to drive in, why hasn’t our HBHS staff taken more action to ensure adequate safety in these parking lots? Not only does the school not have enough parking spots, but exits are also scarce as well. This imposes safety issues, and it also perpetuates unwanted car crashes and stress that could be avoided. If students cannot evacuate safely, in case of an emergency, how can the school ensure all students and staff remain safe? “I’ve seen so many people get into accidents near the school. Personally, I believe this is because we are all fighting for spaces,” said HBHS junior, Brayden Gillies.

“When I did my driver training, it reiterated how we need to be extra cautious in student areas because teen drivers inherently tend to be worse drivers. This is honestly because of inexperience. Either way, changes need to be made near the school so that driving and parking are easier,” said Jenna Vanholt, an HBHS sophomore.

“I think the parking at school is pretty limited and is often very crazy because of how few parking spots there are in comparison to the large number of students that need parking,” voiced Lili Baker, an HBHS junior.

Next Year’s Bell Schedule

Additionally, many students are confused and frustrated with the newly introduced bell schedule for the 2022-2023 school year. The limited access to parking results primarily from spots being determined on a first-come, first-serve basis. Consequently, some students are fearful of starting school during the second period or later in the day, because parking will become harder to find and obtain.“It is very difficult to find parking close to the school. Sometimes, I am late to class when I have to park further than expected,” said Lissa Wolters, an HBHS junior.

“I can’t imagine how much harder finding parking will be next year. It’s already impossible,” expressed the previous anonymous seventeen-year-old student. 

Senior Parking Passes

This year, HBHS’ incoming seniors had the opportunity to apply for a senior parking permit. The form is available for each and every senior, as long as they can provide picture proof of a driver’s license that will be valid for the 2022-2023 school year. The application is due May 31, 2022, and on June 6, 2022, those who got randomly selected for a pass will be notified via email. Additionally, the pass costs $100 for each HBHS student. However, limited spots are available. Therefore, only a restricted number of students will acquire a pass which is the issue. Where are other students supposed to park, who don’t accumulate a pass or can’t afford to purchase one?

I think one improvement that would be beneficial would be to offer more in-school parking spots and also to offer more spots for juniors who often struggle to find parking outside of school. ” Lili Baker, an HBHS junior, said.

Changes Students Want to See

“[We need] more parking for students and students only,” said Toby Hodne, an HBHS junior.

“More parking space near the school [need to be added] because we have such a big campus. It should not be this hard to get more spaces,” said Sofia Clark, another HBHS junior.

“Waking up so early in the morning just to park is crazy, and the only spots available are quite far. This also makes paying attention in class hard, because by the time I get to class I’m drained just from sitting in my car waiting,” said an HBHS junior, Ella Glenn.

Students not only want but need more answers from the school. Improvements from increased parking spaces, to cheaper parking, should be discussed with faculty. Educational infrastructures are built to support and push students for success, thus it is imperative for staff to hear out student opinions. With the apparent demand for larger parking spaces and more accessibility to parking spots, this calls for staff to listen to student confessionals.

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