[Opinion] Traffic in the junior lot causes safety concerns and interferes with student convenience


Aubrey LaTorre

MSD Junior lot causes safety concerns with many cars exiting and entering at once. Students struggle to exit each day.

Quinn Braun and Gabriel Jardine

Located at North Community Park, which is south of MSD down Pine Island Road, the junior lot serves as a place for student drivers to park for school. While the lot is known by many as the junior lot, any driving student can buy a decal from the city to be able to park there. This means that sophomores, juniors and seniors are all allowed to park in the same off-campus lot. With an ever increasing student population, there have been complaints from many that the traffic in the junior lot has become a major inconvenience.

At MSD, there are two distinct lots where students can park. On-campus parking for seniors is found in the senior lot where students must meet several criteria to be able to get a decal. Technically, only seniors are able to park here. For juniors and sophomores, as well as seniors who did not obtain a senior lot parking pass, the junior lot is the area where they are able to park.

While the junior lot is large, parking and traffic have become a notable problem for students, especially after returning from winter break.

One of the main reasons behind the extensive traffic in the junior lot is the fact that many parents choose to pick their children here rather than in the car line at school, likely to avoid the long line. However, there are now many extra cars in the lot that add to the traffic and congestion, making it difficult for students to find parking in the morning or leave afterschool in a timely manner.

It is understandable to try to avoid the car line as it can be really backed up, but blocking traffic in the junior lot is just as bad. While the car line is often long and time consuming, the junior lot should be reserved for students only and parent pickup should not be allowed.

Another issue is that the junior lot is becoming too full, forcing students to park all the way in the back of the lot. The walk from the junior lot to campus is already half a mile and this additional traffic further increases the long walk from the lot to the campus.

Now that it takes longer to get to school, students will have to wake up and leave for school even earlier, running the risk that students will be too tired to pay attention in their classes. With the conditions in the junior lot, many students may be late to their classes, especially if they are the ones who are forced to park in the far back portion of the lot, adding minutes to their walk each morning.

Being late to their classes can be detrimental, especially for students who want to get senior privilege in their senior year. Senior privilege is when seniors, who must meet several requirements, are able to leave one period early on either their Silver day or Burgundy day. This is technically their study hall period.

However, for incoming seniors to obtain a senior lot decal, they must have a maximum of 10 absences. Juniors are trying their best to be eligible for senior privilege and the classes that are missed or they are late to does not help their case to qualify.

Most students are newer drivers, especially the sophomores who are just starting to get their licenses. The students are then forced to drive around the parents parked in the middle of the street. The school has a designated pickup/dropoff line and picking your kids up from the junior lot causes serious problems, and traffic jams that can be completely avoided by parents picking up their kids from the car line.

This phenomena not only greatly increases traffic levels in the parking lot, but it can also be a safety threat for students walking to their cars. Students are forced into the middle of the road with the cars that can’t stay against the sides of the roads because of the cars on the sides.

Some ways that the school could improve the conditions of the junior lot are to designate an area exclusive to juniors in the front section of the park to discourage the large number of sophomores from parking there. This can be enforced through law enforcement. In addition designating a parent pick up location would greatly increase the flow of traffic in the lot as well as improving safety conditions for students. Parents could also pick up their children in the back of the lot instead.

While there definitely is not enough room for all students with cars to park on campus and the junior lot is needed, there are many ways that the conditions there can be improved. At the moment it is a mess of traffic jams and occasional accidents. With the help of law enforcement and parents picking their kids up in the carline, these conditions can be improved.