High school students need a place to park

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I am writing this letter representing probably most of the student body that drives a vehicle to the Juneau-Douglas High School.

I am a junior who drives daily to school. Last year, there were plenty of spots for students to park in the harbor parking lot across the sky bridge from the main building. At the beginning of this school year, the University of Alaska Southeast started a new mining course that took away those spots and now fines people $60 for parking there. Also starting this year, the Juneau Police Department said it is unsafe to park past the fire hydrant on Old Glacier Highway.

Everyday at 7:50 a.m., there is a rush of students arriving to school that make circles around Behrends Avenue seeking out a lucky spot to be on time to school. There are only about three small areas where students can park within walking distance of the high school - Old Glacier Highway (not past the fire hydrant), around Behrends Avenue, above Behrends, and to the right of the harbor where 20 spaces are available. This provides spots for about half of the students driving.

Teachers, on the other hand, have a parking lot on school grounds next to the auxiliary gym, next to the new turf field, under the school and in front of school, all of which are restricted to students even if available.

Every day I drive to school, the first spots I see are in faculty parking areas. Sometimes, I will arrive late at around 8:15 a.m., and there will be at least five spots open in one row of cars. Teachers do not care that there are no available spots for students.

When the university parking lot closed, three out of my five teachers said take the bus. We have 17 bus routes, all of which can hold about 60 kids. That is roughly 1,000 kids who could take the bus in reality. We have 1,600 at JDHS.

So, if one day all of us did ride the bus, the school district would be overwhelmed. I agree this problem is minor, but temporary action needs to be taken. Next year, there will be a new high school with more available parking than you can imagine. But right now, the staff needs to find a solution to this problem, because it is a problem for a large group of us.

Andrew Sigler


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