MSD juniors face parking complications because a of newly-locked gate at North Community Park

One+of+the+entrances+to+North+Community+Park%2C+where+many+juniors+park+their+cars%2C+has+often+been+locked+in+the+mornings.+This+has+raised+both+positive+and+negative+reactions+from+the+student+body.

Zoe Payton

One of the entrances to North Community Park, where many juniors park their cars, has often been locked in the mornings. This has raised both positive and negative reactions from the student body.

Brynn Schwartz, Writer

The parking lot at North Community Park is where many Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students opt to park their car. Located in Coral Springs on the intersection of Westview Drive and Coral Springs Drive, the gate has often been locked in the mornings, blocking cars from entering through the west entrance on Coral Springs Drive. This complication has prevented students from entering the lot through the west entrance, forcing them to either drive around to the alternate gate or find somewhere else to park.

Juniors are allowed to park their car at North Community Park if they have purchased a parking decal through the City of Coral Springs. Seniors who were unable to obtain a senior lot decal for the senior parking lot on MSD’s campus can also choose to park their car at the park.

This option has been popular among students, with the issue of a lack of parking in recent years at MSD. However, parking at North Community Park has now become an issue for students due to one of the entrances being locked in the morning.

According to a North Community Park representative, the gate was closed in partnership by managers of the Coral Springs Police Department and the park department in order to filter all MSD drivers into the entrance on Westview. This was due to residents of the community across from the now closed entrance on Coral Springs Dr. dropping their students off through this entrance, causing congestion for those who are driving to the school along this road.

“The first day [the City of Coral Springs] started locking the gate was because they wanted everyone to go through the entrance on Westview. There was a cop at the entrance making every parent who tried to enter turn away,” junior LJ Russinoff said. “They did this for a couple days after, but then the cop stopped, but only that entrance remains open. Now everyone, students and parents, are going in through only one entrance of the park, causing a lot of traffic and making driving unsafe in the parking lot.”

Students and parents often crowd the only entrance to the park. With several people walking through the park to get to school, driving can become dangerous for students.

“I’ve always entered through [the Westview] gate because the [Coral Springs Drive] gate is usually very, very crowded and it takes less time,” junior Mina Dinh said.

The application for a decal at the North Community Park states that students are not allowed to park in the parking lot prior to 7 a.m. However, this is an issue that surpasses the 7 a.m opening since drivers now need to all enter through the gate on Westview Drive.

The decals cost $50 at North Community park, in contrast to the $60 price of the senior lot spaces. In an average school year, personalized spots are offered for individuals parking at the senior lot for more money. Personalized spots included a parking decal, a guaranteed assigned parking space and an opportunity to personalize their parking spot with a design of the student’s choice. The regular decal, which costs $60, only offers the parking decal. Only the regular decal is offered this year.

Despite the expense, seniors rush to receive a parking decal in the senior lot. In recent years, graduating classes have been too large to allow all eligible seniors to receive a parking pass, forcing many to turn to what is dubbed the “junior lot” at the park.

Many seniors were unable to receive parking decals in the senior lot this year, either due to failure to submit their application on time or due to a lack of spots available. Unauthorized students were told they would be informed if authorized students did not pay for the decal to possibly redeem a senior lot pass.

According to Google Maps, students who park at the park have a roughly 12-minute walk commute every morning. When the gate is locked, students have to deal with that as well as the commute, making juniors susceptible to being late due to this issue.

“I was anxious about where I was going to park and how I’ll be late for school,” Russinoff said.

However, the gate being locked in the mornings has benefited some students.

“The gate being locked actually cleared up a lot of traffic and left a lot of open parking spaces because people drop their kids off and wait around the lot. So, it’s nice to have the gate locked,” Dinh said.

There are currently no empty spots in the senior lot, but there are spots available at North Community Park. Although it is unclear whether or not the gate will remain locked, students should continue to drive carefully in the crowded space.

Editors Note: The following paragraph was added. “According to a North Community Park representative, the gate was closed in partnership by managers of the Coral Springs Police Department and the park department in order to filter all MSD drivers into the entrance on Westview. This was due to residents of the community across from the now closed entrance on Coral Springs Dr. dropping their students off through this entrance, causing congestion for those who are driving to the school along this road.”