TPHS students struggle to park amid space shortage

The TPHS student parking lot has seen a higher demand for parking this year, leading to an increase in tickets and student complaints.

While TPHS has heard complaints about the lack of space for student drivers before this year, the current parking shortage is partly due to a junior class that has 150 students more than in previous years, according to TPHS Principal Rob Coppo.

Administration considered this issue before the school year began, reinstating Smart Start — a two-hour safe driving course — as a requirement for obtaining a parking permit and restricting all underclassmen from parking in the lot, which was a policy directed by the district, according to TPHS campus supervisor Robert McKeon.

The decrease in parking permits and spots in the lot has upset many students; sophomores report needing to park without permits to make it to class on time and seniors complain of underclassmen in the senior lot — the top row of parking spaces unofficially claimed by the top class on campus.

“Every morning, I get here on time, but once I get to the parking lot, all the spots are full. I have to park on the side or on the street, resulting in a treacherous journey to get to class and a tardy,” Ryan Munsch (12) said.

Unpermitted and hazardous parking has led to an increase in warnings and tickets, according to TPHS administrators. With approximately 548 student spots and only 482 valid parking permits, there should be empty spots, according to McKeon. However, due to unpermitted and illegal parking, McKeon has issued 227 tickets this year.

With all the student complaints surrounding the parking lot, Aidan McCarthy (12) began compiling accounts of issues in the parking lot to share with TPHS administrators.

“I was spurred to begin taking an active and investigative approach to this issue after my teachers began saying how the issue of people leaving early was getting worse,” McCarthy said. “I held my suspicions that a root cause of this was the situation in the parking lot, and I felt that helping to settle the parking lot problem could have far-reaching benefits for students and staff alike.”

For now, TPHS administration has multiple new initiatives planned and is brainstorming long-term improvements.

“We are going to meet this summer to see what we can figure out because our freshman class coming in is going to be over 600, so now that won’t affect the parking, but it does affect traffic,” Coppo said. “The good news is next year, the junior class is smaller, and if we get some spaces back from construction, that could ease it.”

A drastic parking lot expansion is impossible due to the location and layout of the campus, according to Coppo. However, McKeon said he is looking into the possibility of adding more parking spots and redrawing spaces.

Regarding monitoring the overcrowding, TPHS plans to hire more campus supervisors to monitor traffic in the lot.

“We are working on getting additional campus supervisors to help monitor down in the lot so that if we can better enforce, maybe we can convince people to get there earlier, but I don’t know if it will necessarily affect the overcrowding,” Coppo said.

For now, without a clear end to the overcrowding, TPHS administrators recommend that students follow the parking lot rules to avoid a warning citation or ticket. Until a solution is found, they recommend students manage their time wisely to arrive at school early enough to secure a spot.

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