EDITORIAL: Parkin’ Problems
The lack of parking at Tam has been at the forefront of student conversation, often outshining other topics – prom, standardized testing, college acceptances and decisions, grades – as the most complained about subject among our student body. As more and more sophomores get their driver’s licenses, parking in proximity to Tam is at a premium.
There is only one student parking lot on campus, located beside the student center and coined the “BPL” (back parking lot), yet that space is designated for seniors, disabled students, and teachers only. Anyone else who parks there runs the risk of becoming a victim of vigilante parking justice. In the BPL, there are only 58 legal parking spaces. There are 286 seniors.
Off campus parking is also extremely limited. There are those students who show up at 7:25am to get the best spots, those who sleep in and end up enduring the walk from the field house, those who park illegally and get ticketed, and those who park perpendicularly between two horizontally parallel parked cars alongside the creek and look as if they are about to slide tail-end into the water (pictured in the TOC).
One student, who lives near Tam Junction, described how she had to park so far away from school that she was closer to her house than she was to school. Some students joke about how they consider their “field-house trek” a source of daily exercise. In an affluent county such as ours, where many students drive personal vehicles to school every day, there are simply too many cars and not enough spaces; as our economics teachers tell us, the demand far outweighs the supply.
In order to tackle the parking shortage, students, administrators, and the Marin County community must work together and take a multi-faceted approach. It is not as simple as expecting students to finally take their parents’ advice to just walk or break out the bike they haven’t used in 10 years. On the other hand, it isn’t realistic to expect the Tam administration and the taxpayers to fund a six-story student parking garage.
In an email announcement read by Tam teachers to students on March 3, Principal David Brown explained how there will be some “adjustments this summer that will involve rearranging and restriping our present lots, and increasing the number of spaces available for next year.” Yet, this measure will only go so far. The administration should consider painting lines to define parking spaces along Almonte Boulevard to prevent newer drivers from parking crookedly and taking up two spaces instead of one. In addition, Marin County could cover the ditch alongside the baseball field with a concrete, while still allowing water to flow underneath. This way, students could back in and the perpendicular parking would resemble that of Miller Avenue.
On the students end, we should put an increased focus on carpooling to school. In previous years, Tam enforced a rule that only allowed carpoolers to park in the BPL. Measures such as this should be reconsidered to provide an incentive for students to carpool to school. Additionally, students who live close to Tam and whose houses are not located at the top of a giant hill, should walk. The Marin Transit system is also another resource for students to utilize. The Reed Union School District has brought back school buses in order to reduce congestion during drop off and pick up times. A school bus system, much like the one in Tiburon, could be one part of the solution.
We understand that the present parking issue will require a nuanced solution, yet it is an issue that must be discussed and addressed immediately. According to a TUHSD Enrollment Projection, our student body is predicted to grow by 328 students in the next five years. At a rate like that, the distance between the campus and our cars will only keep growing too.