Overcrowded parking lots cause issues
November 4, 2019
For some upperclassmen, receiving a parking space at school used to be considered a rite of passage. But what happens when your school does not have enough space for all of those who want, or need, to park? Home to nearly 2,500 students, RM is the second-largest high school in Montgomery County, and Rockville is the second-largest city in the county as well.
RM’s school parking lot has 60 student spaces, so the amount of parking permits that staff are able to give out is limited. “Student population is growing, staff population is growing, and our portable population is growing,” principal Damon Monteleone said.
To be eligible to park, there are some requirements. On the parking permit framework document, it states that priority for parking spots will be given to students who are either disabled, have an academic internship or program (such as dual enrollment at Montgomery College, for example), or participate in after-school extracurriculars or athletics for at least three days a week. “Seniors are usually first come first serve,” security guard Dennis Whalen said.
During previous school years, students were allowed to park in the Marlo Furniture parking lot, which is located directly across from RM’s parking lot. However, just this school year, Marlo has banned students from parking.
“[Marlo] gave some conditions, and those conditions were about trash, and then students left their trash everywhere and Marlo said, no, we’re not doing this again,” Monteleone said.
Some students question the fairness of the parking permit criteria. “I have an internship, and I knew I was going to do it last year, so I did state that on my form, but I originally did not receive a parking permit,” senior Abby Wiersma said. Wiersma has an academic internship at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and has to drive there from school every day.
Another controversial aspect of the parking permit criteria is that spots are only open for seniors. “Juniors don’t even have a go at parking spaces at all anymore,” Wiersma said.
Additionally, students have voiced concerns about potential safety risks of restricted parking. For students who park on the street, parallel parking is almost always a given, unless they arrive before the majority of people do. “With all of us being new drivers, it’s not great,” senior Kimberly Liu said.
Given the amount of students as well as the densely populated environment, there is little extra space. “There’s not enough space. The parking lot fills up pretty fast, I know that some people park there without a parking pass,” senior Elizabeth Meier said. RM administration has started enforcing stickering, and will soon start towing cars that park in the lot without a permit.
“We have way too many students that can’t park in our parking lot,” senior Sarah Saeed said. “I don’t think that it should be an issue for students to be able to find parking at their own school,” Saeed said.