Parking Lot Congestion: A Source of Frustration and Danger

Students entering and exiting the student parking lot contend with confusion

Amaya Dockery, Features Editor

Traffic backups extend down Carpenter Upchurch Road in the morning. (Andrew Zagacki)

Every school has a unique parking lot, but a common issue among each school is congestion.  Whether it be in the morning and/or leaving in the afternoon, Green Hope is no stranger to student traffic within our parking areas.

With Green Hope’s student population over 2000, the mornings can be a struggle simply to attend class on time.  Many cars pile up along several surrounding roads. Pair this up with traffic lights, bus delays, and railroad tracks, and students are stuck in the traffic weeds.  The only way for students to miss this crowd is by leaving their houses well before 7:00 am.  On top of this, the carpool line spills into Carpenter Upchurch Rd, slowing the process down even more.

Many Green Hope students have experienced this before.  Claire De Larminat (’23) struggles with these issues as she drives her electric car to school. “There are various ways to get to the school.” De Larminat explained, “I go through the retirement neighborhood, but people have figured out about the shortcut, so now the left turn out gets backed up.” Cutting through this neighborhood is how students avoid Morrisville Parkway and the carpool line. On the other hand, those who ride carpool can be seen trying to save time by getting out of their cars on Carpenter Upchurch Rd. before reaching the carpool line.

In the afternoons, hundreds of student drivers, eager to get home or attend work, aggressively push and speed their way through the sea of cars. To avoid getting into a dangerous collision, some choose to wait for the crowds to die down until they leave. From a pedestrian’s point of view, Sophia Melin (’23) experiences the dangers associated with student drivers.  Sophia states, “After school, I was crossing the middle of the lot and thought a car was going to slow down for me, but it instead sped around me, going way above the 10 mph speed limit,”

The majority of drivers in the parking lot have had their licenses for under two years, and drivers who obtained their licenses during the pandemic did not have to take a driver’s test. Shea Sullivan (’23) mentioned, “I run over the curb almost every day.” This damage to automobiles is a common occurrence due to the combination of amateur drivers and considerably tight turns into each parking lot row. According to students, some phrases that best illustrate the parking lot are “every man for themselves,” “Chaotic,” and “free for all”.

Leaving the parking lot in the afternoon, drivers encounter even more traffic. (Amaya Dockery)

In regards to calming this situation, some students had ideas of reforming the school’s transportation layout entirely. Anastasia Jeffcoat proposes the idea that “they could lengthen the carpool lane so cars going to the parking lot and cars going to carpool could separate sooner,” but she thinks there may not be enough land for that due to the newly built townhomes beside the school.

Others believe the problem lies within the bell schedules and student actions. De Larminat suggests, “There should be additional dismissal bells. Seniors can leave first, then juniors, and then freshman and sophomores.” She feels this would be an effective way to spread out people and vehicles.

Julia Hudson (’24) also presents her perspective, saying, “Things would go smoother if teens respected the rules and learned when to yield.” She believes students are too selfish when leaving the lot, and rarely let others leave their rows. Ultimately, the safety of students is the foremost factor, which is dependent mostly on the drivers themselves, as Hudson stated.

As the student population increases, students have both frustrations and potential solutions to the issue of congestion.  Moving forward, traffic and selfish driving directly impact the wellbeing of Green Hope families and students.