It’s safe to assume that the majority of Franklin High School’s community has been affected in one way or another by the issue of parking outside our school. Due to Franklin’s location in the center of a neighborhood, there are very limited parking spaces, causing an overflow of cars in the surrounding streets. Franklin has over 2000 students, and you can imagine the mess this creates.
The amount of times I have been stuck in gridlock traffic before and after school is absurd. There have been countless mornings where I sat in a fit of rage for over 10 minutes just so I could move five feet further down the road. The worst part is that half of the time it’s because a car decides it’s best to stop in the middle of the road to drop off or pick up a student, causing the traffic patterns to be completely scrambled. Students have also reported that the traffic and limited parking has made them late to class.
Zsofi Minteir-Végh (12) explains how they have a favorite spot that they use, and have calculated the time it takes to get from their car to the school (three minutes), but when they don’t get the spot they “get thrown off” and ultimately end up late to class. Another student, Molly Givler (12), shares her parking preferences. “At this point, I’ve decided to park on the other side of 52nd; there’s less congestion and usually more spots open.” She continues on to state that, “the only problem with that is the walk [to Franklin]. I know now how long it will take to get to class, but the first couple of weeks I was definitely tardy to my first period.” I myself have also been a victim of tardiness due to parking. There have been many mornings where I’ll try to go down a side street, usually 55th, and to my surprise, I can’t get through. Since we are positioned in a neighborhood, the roads are not made for two directional traffic lanes, especially not after people have parked on both sides of the street. Because of this, I find myself often sitting and waiting until all oncoming traffic has filtered through, which can take up to 15 minutes. Thankfully most teachers are pretty understanding, but showing up late is still a major disruption in students’ learning.
Then there’s after school. As soon as 3:30 hits you can catch me sprinting out to my car because the last thing I want is to get stuck in the pick up line. Trying to get out of the Franklin neighborhood can be very frustrating because of the crazy backups. “I was stuck trying to get from 58th to 57th for 10 minutes,” Minteir-Végh shares when explaining their attempt of departure.
As annoying and aggravating as the school traffic and parking can be, it’s mainly about safety. With such an unstructured and free for all system, accidents are bound to happen. I myself have witnessed one, and I know I’m not the only one who has. Minteir-Végh has been in two minor accidents during their time at Franklin; one was just a scratch and the other left rubber behind; neither were their fault. “First, my car was accidentally scratched by someone driving by in the bottleneck area at [58th and Woodward]. The person who did it left their number and we were able to get their insurance and sort it out.” They continued on to share about the second incident: “in that same area, a person had their tire completely turned and it bumped into the end of my car and left some rubber.” Thankfully none of the incidents have caused any injuries, however if things continue the way they are, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. Stay safe, and PLEASE for goodness sake look both ways before crossing the street.
Now I know what you might be thinking, the easy solution is to not drive, and although I agree with this, it’s not practical. Franklin students come from all directions, and sometimes the walk is a little too far, and the bus routes are a little too indirect. If it works out for you, great! I encourage you to step away from the wheel, however I understand if driving truly is the most practical form of transportation. I think, realistically, in order to help the chaos of it all, we need a restructured traffic protocol, and perhaps some designated drop off and pick up areas. “[I] don’t like the struggle and inconvenience [parking] causes, but I like that we don’t have a big ugly industrial parking lot,” states Minteir-Végh. Though I’ve complained a blue streak about parking, I have to agree with this. There is something to be said for having our school situated in such a caring community, and I wouldn’t want to change that for the world.