Solving Da Vinci’s Persistent Parking Problem

Any student with a driver’s license at Da Vinci knows that one of the biggest annoyances at the school isn’t homework, big projects, or other classmates. It’s parking. According to a student poll with over 70 responses from Da Vinci students, 38.7% drive themselves to school every single morning. With how limited parking space is at Da Vinci, it can be difficult for some to find someplace to park that is both safe and close to the campus.

The most popular places for students to park are either on East 8th St. right in front of school or in the parking lot behind Symposium Pizza, but some students go as far as the parking lot for Dollar Tree or in the nearby neighborhoods. Plenty of students have gotten used to this daily routine of finding the one free spot available wherever they try to park, but almost everyone agrees the situation could be much better. Students’ ideas range from the bland to the outrageous, such as a new dedicated DV parking lot, moving to a bigger campus, banning all cars, using part of the back field as parking space, or doing nothing at all.

Da Vinci principal Tyler Millsap brings forth some ideas to fix the issue. “Ideally, we would have on-site parking,” he said. “What we’ve brought up in the past, for example, is extending the current staff parking lot into the field and allow students to use that extra space, or turning some of the already asphalt area in our school into a parking lot,” Mr. Millsap continued.Unfortunately, these proposals “weren’t received very well by the school district,” according to Mr. Millsap, due to their expense ($80,000-100,000) and difficulty in implementing.

However, Mr. Millsap brought up a fantastic plan: “We could rent a portion of the Dollar Tree parking lot. We’d have around 100 parking spaces dedicated for students, and they could reserve their own parking spaces, and we could even have a day where students get to paint their own parking spots.” “This is a complete guess, but we believe the total price for renting the space, along with some fencing around it would only cost around $10,000 in total, and even less per year to keep renting it,” he continued. Unfortunately, one of the only reasons why this hasn’t been done sooner may be more surprising than you think.
“The parking lot area is actually owned by a combination of about four people, but the issue is we have no idea who any of them actually are, which is the biggest obstacle in our parking plan at the moment,” Mr. Millsap said.

Despite complaints from the campus’s neighbors, some students just don’t have a better option. Junior Stephen Donecker shares his feelings about the issue, “I feel like I usually have a choice when it comes to parking, but most of the time there isn’t enough good choices available so I end up choosing somewhere else.” Other students like him likely share the same feeling, and that’s why many of them believe something has to be done about the parking problem.

While many students await for some kind of resolution, Mr. Millsap advises, “Always be aware of safety, because we have preschoolers and bikers coming and going all the time. Don’t be loud, don’t drive fast, and don’t leave trash. Be respectful with your parking and drive safe. I recommend parking behind Symposium, because there’s a lot of space there and we haven’t gotten any complaints about students parking there.” It may be a while before anything comes of the various plans to improve DV’s parking problem, but students should take Mr. Millsap’s word for now.

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