Administrators seek solutions to student, staff parking lot chaos

Jessica Nguyen, Editor-in-Chief & News Editor

Getting to school on time in the morning has always posed a challenge for students when cars are swerving from lane to lane, cutting other drivers and students off, and blocking the entrance to the parking lot and drop off zone—and the journey becomes almost scary for some.

The school parking lot is often chaotic in the morning with parents trying to get their kids to school on time while not being late for work. Drivers maneuver dangerously in and out of both the student and staff parking lot, posing a safety hazard for students and staff members.

“Cars are coming over from the oncoming lane onto your side and all of a sudden there are three lanes,” senior Daniel Cordova said, referring to the Thornton Road stoplight. “They [the cars] come out of nowhere. I almost crashed once.”

Upon entering the student parking lot, drivers do not stay in their designated lane, which puts other drivers at risk. Parents also turn into the student parking lot instead of the student drop off zone.

“The number of cars going in and out creates a traffic jam,” senior John Nguyen said. “They [students] are getting dropped off in the student parking lot, blocking the other students driving in to park.”

With everyone rushing to get their child to school on time, the student parking lot becomes highly congested with cars. Student drivers are unable to maneuver through the parking lot without being blocked by parents parking in the middle of the lots.

Traffic flow is no better in the student drop-off zone.

“Students are getting dropped off right in the middle of traffic,” sophomore Jacqueline Gaspar said. “It slows everyone behind them down.”

When one driver stops in the drop off zone, it  produces a domino effect of cars having to stop as well, preventing others from entering the student parking lot altogether.   Occasionally,  an  officer  in uniform will direct traffic in front of the student parking lot entrance to maintain a steady traffic flow, but no permanent action has been taken to address the student parking lot issues.

To avoid the traffic jam, some parents choose to drop their child in the staff parking lot instead.

“There is more traffic in the teacher parking lot now than there was before in the past years,” Vice Principal Sera Baysinger said. “Now we need to use multiple openings to get students in.”

With an increased number of unsupervised cars in the staff parking lot, drivers are navigating carelessly.

“Students come to the teacher parking lot [and] it creates a jam,” Assistant Principal Dennis To said. “Cars U-turn onto oncoming traffic.”

Staff members are often blocked from the parking lot as parent drivers are flooding the entrance lane. Cars are entering and exiting from both directions, exposing students to potential danger as they attempt to walk across the crowded lot into the school buildings.

In order to alleviate traffic, barriers were placed on the entrance of the staff parking lot and enforced on October 14.

“It [the barriers] diverts traffic into two directions so parents are not dropping students off from the teacher parking lot side,” Baysinger said.

The barriers block parents from entering the staff parking lot and they are forced to follow the lined up cones. The cones guide parents to the front of the school to drop off their students safely without interfering with the staff parking lot.

“The barriers make it a one way in and one way out line up,” To said.

The cones allow parents to continue using the staff parking lot entrance which helps alleviate the number of cars in the student parking lot. Each morning, an administrator stands in a yellow squared-off section in the middle of the entrance lane greeting drivers as they enter the parking lot.

However, some have raised the question of whether this poses a potential risk.

According to the Stockton Police Department’s Traffic Division, any interaction with a driver from anyone without proper uniform holds the person accountable in case of an accident.

“This directly or indirectly could lead to an accident,” said a Stockton P.D. Traffic representative. “It would be best and safest for them to not be involved.”

Baysinger said the administrators are simply “welcoming the cars” in the morning.

“We’re not policing,” Baysinger said. “We’re doing everything we can to maintain student safety.”

The addition of the cones and barriers has improved the traffic flow in the staff parking lot by setting boundaries for drivers to follow. Students are able to cross the parking lot safely without worrying about reckless drivers.

“[The] cones are not permanent,” Baysinger said. “We’re assessing the situation to see what gives us better success.”