Perspectives on Disruption of Student Parking
January 30, 2023
Due to the school’s construction, the administration has decided to move junior parking to Dadeland Mall while the seniors remain parked at the Upper School. This change has impacted my student life— and that of many others— negatively for numerous reasons.
My daily schedule before the parking changes was already tough since I live in Key Biscayne and have to do early bird and after school sports. I used to wake up a bit before 6:00 a.m. to arrive at school at 7:00 a.m. and immediately go to class but now I have to wake up even earlier so that I can arrive at Dadeland and take the shuttle to school. Even though the shuttles have been efficient in taking students from one place to another, it is still somewhat annoying to have to go through all of this knowing that nothing is benefiting you or your schedule.
Despite the early time I have to wake up, I also depend on my car to get back home after my sport ends which is usually later at night when there are no shuttles back to Dadeland. As a result, right after school I have to get in the Dadeland shuttle to get my car and then come back to the Upper School. This causes a delay because most of the time when I do this I usually end up late to practice. On Wednesdays when we have a later dismissal, I have to leave early from practice to go on the shuttle to get my car and go home, causing further complications to my schedules.
I believe that there could’ve been some alternatives to this issue. One of those having been the earlier construction and prioritizing of the new parking garage over the field. If they started the parking lot construction at the end of last year’s school year and throughout summer, I believe they could have made enough progress to be practically finished. Even if they aren’t done they could at least open a section of the finished parking lot for us to park. Another solution could be alternating the weeks that seniors and juniors park on campus. One week the seniors could park at Dadeland while we park at school and continuously switch back and forth.
The ongoing $170 million “Transformation. Together. 2026.” construction and development plan has moved junior (and some senior) parking to Dadeland Mall, a 0.8 mile detour from campus.
While I’ve heard many of my peers complain about this recent change, I find that I am grateful that I can get to school, even if that means I have to wake up earlier. In my experience, the shuttles are efficient and work well. If they don’t, it’s important that students know that they can contact transportation coordinator Henry Avila for help or feedback. I don’t mind the minor annoyance of having to park less than a mile away from campus, especially when shuttles are provided from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Through my own global experiences, I’ve learned that in places like Morocco kids in the Atlas Mountains have to hike through lengthy trails to get to school. In comparison, I’ve realized that a minor detour in my route really isn’t a big deal.
However, I do know that even though this is a small change in my schedule, it affects other students who have extracurricular activities that last hours after school ends. What most people have done is that they go to Dadeland to pick up their car and bring it to the Upper School Campus, something I’ve also done when staying late because I prefer not to wait for the evening bus. It’s simply a matter of convenience: there are still shuttles that go until late and if a student needs a shuttle at a time later than 6:30 p.m., according to transportation coordinator Avila, students can arrange for shuttles to leave earlier or later in the day as they need. Therefore, it’s not necessarily fair to complain that you have to bring your car over to the Upper School campus every day after school when in reality, you don’t.
Nevertheless, I do think that this shift in routine could have been handled better. Students who live far away and have extracurricular obligations that prolong their school day should have been prioritized over the traditional seniority rule where seniors are automatically given priority and special treatment because it is their last year of high school. By 8 a.m. when school begins, the on-campus student parking lot is nearly empty (seems like senioritis kicked in because the senior parking lot is rarely full when class starts). If the students who have on-campus parking spots aren’t even using them or coming to school on time, students who actually do care about such things should be prioritized.