Turn the right way

SHS students and parents face the perils of the parking lot trying to leave after school


Andrew Tapp

The SHS parking lot on Friday, Feb. 24. The parking lot is often busy with students and staff coming and going at the beginning and end of each day.

Lyndsay Valadez, Reporter

Angrily awaiting the turn of the car in front of him, David Sprague, the father of sophomore Emma Sprague, wanted to leave the parking lot of SHS to get his other daughter, Maddie Sprague to the middle school. His anger only grew as the car in front of him was attempting to turn left onto Shelby Street, even though there’s a sign clearly indicating only a right turn is allowed. Eventually, someone let the lady in front of him out of the parking lot.

The entrances and exits of SHS can and do cause issues for anyone not paying attention to their surroundings, even if they are unseen. Reasons behind these issues vary from students or parents not paying attention and sometimes a lack of instruction to those in the parking lot.

“If everyone reads a sign, turning right is no problem,” David said.

David says that on the east side of the parking lot, the furthest entrance south is the worst. This is where the lady in front of him decided not to listen when he got out of his car to knock on her window and advise her to only turn right, after laying on his horn for what he says  felt like forever.

After this, he says he has made an effort to lessen his usage of the parking lot all together.

Even problems have arised from the line leading into the parking lot. Now in the mornings, David zig zags through the neighborhood opposite Banta along the stadium wall. Mornings aren’t the only times when David avoids the parking lot, he also avoids it in the afternoon. He, along with few others, wait in the gravel next to the tennis courts, to be more timely.

“After school the parking lot is just a mess,” David said.

Assistant principal Kirby Schott agrees with David that being timely is key. However, he gets to school at 5:45 and has not been aware of nor told of any issues with the parking lot “for years,” as he says. He thinks that as long as you’re efficient, there won’t be many problems.

“If people plan accordingly, as far as the start time for school, there really shouldn’t be an issue,” Schott said. “However, we’re talking about teenage drivers.”

He also says that it is the district police that chooses which entrances can and can not be open at certain times. He does know that during the day only one entrance is open, the same one David has had issues with. It is the only one open to reduce the amount of places outsiders could enter and to increase the control of anyone leaving the parking lot.

David does understand that the parking lot has to be partly closed off because of the busses, and that after the busses are gone, all entrances are open, but by then it’s already taken 30 minutes to leave. To avoid this, he picks up Emma after picking up Maddie from the middle school. Emma doesn’t mind the parking lot as much as her dad, however.

“It’s not really an issue for me, since I’m not the one driving,” Emma said.

She doesn’t think much more needs to be done, but David thinks something should. He suggests cones, so that people have no choice, but to turn the right way, or have someone stand outside while people are passing through to tell them they can’t turn left.

On Thursday, Feb 23, the journal ran a test to see how long it actually takes to leave the parking lot in the afternoon. It took approximately 37 seconds to leave with traffic and 18 seconds without any traffic.