The Parking Lottery: Where to Park, Who gets Parking Priority, and the Public Unrest
For Hanover High students who drive, receiving a free parking pass behind the school only happens if you win the lottery. Consequently, the student body is unhappy with the price of parking on Hovey, and the limited number of spots available behind the school.
I conducted a poll with thirty students who drive to school. Of the thirty students, everyone thought that students deserve free parking. Half thought they deserve a spot behind the school, but didn’t apply because they knew they wouldn’t be chosen. Others applied, and were denied. Five students received parking passes, and they lived an average of twenty minutes from school and they either did not have a bus stop, or the bus stop was a couple miles in the wrong direction. The majority of people park on Hovey, with the second most common parking place being at a friend’s house.
If people are not lucky enough to receive a free high school parking spot, they might deem it necessary to purchase a Hovey parking permit, which is renewable every other month. These spots come with a price tag of 80 dollars for two months. These spots are in such high demand that there is a waiting list of 50 people, which can take months to get off.
What does this mean for those who want a Hovey spot? Get your name on the list months before you need the spot! If someone forgets to pay a month, they automatically lose their spot.
When is the best time to claim a Hovey spot? The town of Hanover says July is the best time, because that is when they are most available. Do not wait for the fall to buy a spot, because if you do, you might end up walking to school.
Angela, who is in charge of the parking behind the school, decides who are the lucky few who receive a parking spot. Priority is given to students who live far away, tuition students, and other reasons that need to remain confidential. Angela warns people who are thinking of parking illegally, “people get one warning, and then they are ticketed 40 dollars.” She keeps a list of all the license plate numbers to keep track of warnings, and tickets, but she said that there are a few “repeat offenders.”
Angela wanted to inform the people who do have passes to know if they are driving an alternative vehicle, “they have to inform me. If they get a warning, and they were driving a different car, they should talk to me. We can fix it.” Angela, or another staff member, regularly checks the parking lot in search of cars without parking passes to ticket.
There are a few other places that remain an option to park: the Thompson parking lot, the few meter spots past by the Dartmouth football stadium, a parking lot behind CVS, the parking garage in Hanover, and parking at fellow classmates houses. Be warned, if you park in the wrong section of the Thomson parking lot, the ticket prices are high. Jack Meehan, a student of Hanover High, parked in a different spot in the Thompson lot because his normal spot was occupied by a dump truck. Jack speaks out on the issue, “Dartmouth ticketed me 50 dollars. Their endowment last year was $6 billion… I worked 5 hours for that stupid ticket.”
All of these alternative parking spaces come with a long walk into school, which can feel treacherous in the winter. Tristan Meyer, like most students who drive to school, is upset with the parking. He says, “It doesn’t seem fair that even though I live thirty minutes away from the school and don’t have access to a bus route I am still forced to pay to park over a half a mile away from the school. I also play sports all three seasons that don’t provide a bus to practice and I am often late because I have to walk to my car.”
Christina Chow, a captain of the Girls Hockey Team, shares the extracurricular issue. “The hockey team has practice from 5:30 to 7:00 in the morning. Then we shower and get ready for the day. How can the school refuse to recognize athletics as a reason for a parking space? What do they expect me to do? Get home at 7:45 and get on the bus to come to school? The bus would have left by then. The time lines just don’t add up.”
Angela agrees that there is a problem with parking, but “we do our best. Having a school in town comes with some disadvantages.” Julie Stevenson agrees and adds an optimistic alternative to think about the issue, “One of the benefits is the parking problem forces us to carpool and ride buses, which is beneficial for the environment.” She then addresses the amount of complaints she receives for the parking situation, saying, “I would definitely consider this a first world problem.” Stevenson wishes she could do more to help.