VHS parking lot receives scrutiny from
By Lucy Wing, Content Editor
With a record number of students attending Vashon Island High School, the parking lots are more crowded than ever, filling all three lots and even overflowing into the Student Link and Parks District Pool parking spaces. The increase in student drivers this year has led to an increase in traffic, accidents, and overall stress surrounding parking during the day.
Parking can always be frustrating, but this year the conversations around parking are more common and tense than in recent years.
“[The layout] is not that good, it gets crowded really quickly because it [bottlenecks], so you have to force your way out. It’s not that dangerous it’s just really irritating to work around,” senior Erik Pringle said.
Most students share this frustration with the layout of the parking lot and how it contributes to unpredictable driving.
“Backing out is pretty much impossible because [you] feel like you’re going to get hit and [you] have to guess because [you] can’t see what’s going on. Being cut off in the parking lot is very [common] so there’s definitely a lot of opportunity for accidents,” junior Myra Butler said.
Office manager Jackie Merrill has worked at VHS for three years and even in that short amount of time has seen significant increases in accidents in the parking lots.
“My two cents is that the parking spots are kind of tight. So for an inexperienced driver, it’s likely that they could try to turn into the spot and scrape a car. And I’ve had more reports of that this year than prior,” Merrill said.
Security against these accidents is hard to ensure, as only 50 students have their car registered with the school, meaning there is no way to know who is involved in an accident and if that student has
insurance or even a license.
“I think everyone should have a parking pass because then you get checked for your license at that point [and] we know whoever’s driving has insurance. If my car’s going to get hit, I know that someone can pay
for it,” senior Bethany Gasser said.
The parking passes are not only a way to guarantee students are insured, but also a way to handle situations in a private manner instead of an all-call over the public address system.
“[The parking passes] are so if somebody had a fender bender, or someone left their lights on, we have a way to figure out who it is and we can get them out of class and get it dealt with, rather than doing an all-call,” Merrill said.
The majority of all-calls are nothing more than lights being left on, as students and staff are fairly good about parking and there is rarely a serious accident or violation.
“I think we actually accommodate quite a lot of cars, considering how many students go here and it’s [only] an inconvenience for about 10 to 15 minutes, right at the end of the day,” Merrill said.
This time after school lets out brings the most traffic, the majority built from backup from the 4-way stops and there only being one available exit from the upper and lower lots, the other being taken by busses.
“I haven’t noticed bad drivers [being the] fault of the congestion, I think it’s the layout, as there’s only one exit and everyone’s trying to leave at the same time. It just results in chaos,” Pringle said.