Pentucket’s Parking Predicament

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(Photographer: Nolan O'Neil)

Nolan O'Neil, Writer

If you drive to school every day, you know how frustrating it is when someone is parked in your spot, that you dished out $180 for.

Or to see someone parked illegally in a handicap spot.

Or a fire lane.

Completely free of charge. 

“Unfortunately, we’re kind of pushovers when it comes to this stuff,” said Vice Principal Kowalski when asked about the current parking situation at Pentucket. 

Kowalski also said that the procedure when a student is caught parking in an unpaid spot was to run the license plate, call the student down to the office, and tell them that the spot they parked in was already taken.

However, Senior Jack Mitchell said that he went to Kowalski’s office because someone had parked in his spot. Mitchell asked him what he should do and how the situation could be dealt with, but he was told by Kowalski: “We’re working on the whole spot situation, but it’s a real feeding frenzy after 7:30.”

To Kowalski’s credit, he acknowledges the problem and realizes it is an issue. He said that he understands the student’s concern, as well as the parent’s concern, and they are working hard to fix it. He stated that parking should be somewhat of an honor system. He also said, “All the kids want to park, and if students understand that we will have less of a problem.” He emphasized that everyone has to work together and be on the same page. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. At least the spot thief was parked legally. A junior, who parks in the fire lane daily, said that he thinks that that is fine to do so. The student did not purchase a spot and has been parking for the majority of the year for free. He even said, “You don’t pay for a spot to park in the fire lane […] At most schools, there is never a fire, so you might as well risk it.” The worst part about this whole situation is the student never got a ticket, called to the office, or had his plated run. Not even something as simple as a warning. 

This same student suggested that the seniors should pay less than the sophomores and juniors for parking due to the fact that they go to school for a shorter amount of time. According to the Newburyport Daily News, schools around the area, such as Triton Regional, Amesbury High, and Newburyport High, have already been doing that. At these high schools, students do not have to pay to park at all, regardless of grade. The article mentions that students who attend Triton, more so than Amesbury and Newburyport, may have long drives to school, work, extracurricular activities, and more, so they spend more on gas. So, in turn, Triton is eliminating the parking fee. 

Michael Dwyer, the resource officer at Pentucket, states that he has only ever given a ticket to students who were parked on Farm Lane, not students who were parked illegally on school grounds. He obviously has the authority to issue a ticket of any kind at any time. He says that he rather wouldn’t and that “a nice friendly reminder is helpful, too.” He says that he would rather give the warning or a reminder in his words in person. Although, if there is a serious problem with one or more vehicles that can cause a safety issue, e.g. the fire lane, then he will be more apt to hand out a ticket.

This parking dilemma is most likely going to be a non-issue in a few years with the coming of the new school, but for about the next three to four years, it will only continue to get more and more crowded from construction and the buzz around campus. So whether you are a spot-taker or a spot-takee, there is a problem that needs to be addressed, and that problem falls on all of the students’ shoulders here at Pentucket.