Park It, Lock It, Ticket


Hana Thomas, Web Editor


After a long day at school, I walk back to my car with a friend, discussing our APUSH homework for the week. The sun shines as I search for my Chevy Bolt amongst the sea of student cars near the tennis courts. Gently flapping in the wind is an innocent, white slip of paper under my windshield wiper, penalizing me $71 for trying to get to school on time.  

That morning, I circled the block once, twice, three times to try and find parking. My dashboard clock counted down to 8:30, and my first period teacher is not forgiving when it comes to tardies. Could I make it to the community lot?  On the off chance that there was a spot left, there was no way I could make the walk to the STEAM building on time.

For weeks now, the Piedmont Police Department has cracked down on parking policies. Whether it’s two hour parking, permit reserved parking, or resident parking, students have received numerous tickets charging them upwards of $60 per ticket. In a survey of over 80 PHS students who drive to school, over 50% had received one or more parking tickets while at school.  

I understand that there is high demand and limited supply for parking in central Piedmont, but this is an issue of equity and fairness, especially for students who have to drive to school.  It seems logical to provide parking permits or legal parking for students who live outside of the district.  On the blocks surrounding the school, students should be prioritized over city employees and two-hour parking. Especially as more students are getting their licenses and beginning to drive to school, the need for legal student parking grows as the end of the year approaches. Students have parked in the community lot and on nearby streets for months without repercussions, and it would be ideal for this to continue.  

Piedmont is a city with convenient walkability for most, yet many kids who live nearby drive to school. Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) opened its doors to interdistrict students. Whether they are children of faculty or interdistrict transfer students, PHS community members now commute from all over the Bay, from Alameda to San Mateo. There is no student parking offered, and the community lot, which is frequented by students due to its proximity to the school, has recently experienced its own explosion of ticketing and the sudden appearance of chalk outlines around car tires.

For teachers and city employees, permits are provided for front row parking adjacent to Piedmont’s city center.  Students, however, are forced to battle it out for the remaining spots, or park several hilly blocks away and walk the remainder of the distance.  For many, the parking situation causes tardies, emotional stress, and financial burden. It forces students who commute far to come even earlier to find parking.  

In a “progressive” city like Piedmont, these parking policies essentially act as a regressive tax.  Students from surrounding districts and students who live closer to the edges of Piedmont, because they are more likely to have to drive, are “taxed” with potentially daily $60+ tickets.  Schools are supposedly designed around students, yet students are the only group that were not considered when these plans and policies were made. In a school of 800 students, the city and school district should have assumed hundreds of students and faculty would need daily parking.  The lack of thoughtfulness in city planning with respect to parking is shocking.  Students deserve designated, or atleast public and legal parking just as teachers and faculty do.