Reconsidering the parking pandemic

Senior year is one of increased privilege—and perhaps the most exciting of those privileges is finally gaining parking access to the uber-exclusive senior lot. For seniors offered spots here, gone are the days of crossing your fingers every time you pass the Legion, panicking after pulling into a full fourth lot, or calling the shuttle anxiously from third lot at 7:59 a.m.

But alas, for the first month of school, seniors missed out on this long-anticipated opportunity and had to park in third and fourth lot, overflowing the latter and clogging the former. It was a month of vehicular chaos for all student drivers.

The senior lot is now open to some seniors, but significantly fewer spots are available this year—just 10 to 15 student spots, compared to last year’s 26. The reason for the change is that the school wants to ensure more access to the lot throughout the day, since part-time teachers and construction workers from the City of Cambridge, which actually owns the lot, often need to park there midmorning.

The Vanguard recognizes that there is no easy solution to this space crunch, but we believe the parking system can still improve.

What about the athletic center parking lot, which the school owns and which regularly has open spaces? How about calculating how many coaches and visitors need parking at the athletic center and allowing seniors to park in the remaining spots? Delegating part of this lot for senior parking would create less crowding in the third and fourth lots and ease the stress of morning arrival for all students. To eliminate any confusion, each senior granted parking at the athletic center could have a designated space number.

As for who gets a spot at either the senior or athletic center lot, why not prioritize being green? Instead of allotting spots only to those students traveling the longest distance in terms of miles—a factor that doesn’t consider traffic and thus doesn’t determine the duration of a commute—the school could grant spots to seniors who commit to driving in a designated group of neighboring students. Drivers from nearby areas like Cambridge and Boston might be excluded so that those from towns farther away have a secured place. Such a system would encourage carpooling, help students get to know each other, free up space in the third and fourth lots, and allow more students to benefit from the desirable location of the senior lot.

To further reward environmentally friendly transportation, the school could offer a few spots to seniors who commute in hybrid cars, after entering all hybrid owners into a lottery system. Another fuel-efficient and potentially less stressful commute option is the T. Students, don’t forget about the discounted MBTA passes provided by the school! Not only do T users never have to search for parking, but the shuttle running to and from Harvard Square in the morning and after school eases the trek.

Finally, how about that mansion space? What conversations are taking place about the use of that coveted real estate on at 30 Gerry’s Landing Road? Perhaps part of that area could be used to ease student parking woes.

Though we can’t add more student spaces to the senior lot, let’s be creative in our problem solving and brainstorm alternative ways to improve the parking situation that utilize other school spaces and resources while helping the environment.


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