Brandeis Road parking ban continues into April

By Jason Yoffe
Published: March 2011
This winter administration informed students that parking on Brandies Road past the Senior Parking Lot was temporarily prohibited because snowdrifts squeezed traffic down to one lane. This temporary arrangement, however, may become a permanent policy.
On April 2, South’s High School Council will present its case to ban this parking to increase parking pass revenue and eliminate safety hazards.
According to Principal Joel Stembridge, the area off-limits for parking is from the Senior Lot to the first house beyond the school, which will remove 11 free spaces.
Though money is a motivating factor for many supporters of the policy, Stembridge maintains that his primary concern regarding parking is safety.
“It’s so much safer driving [when there are no parked cars] because you can actually see people in the crosswalk,” he said. “Before, as you came around that corner, you could only see cars, and then all of a sudden, you’re in the crosswalk. And sometimes there’s a student right there.”
The School Council looks to compensate for the loss of free spots by reducing the semester parking pass from a fee of $200 to one of $180, a savings of $2 a day for a student subscriber.
“Fees for everything else are going up, but parking prices are going down,” Stembridge said.
The proposal indicates that the price could drop another $5 in the future if minimal interest is displayed over the course of a few years.
This year, parking fees accrued $23,400; if the Senior Lot was filled to a full capacity, with a $175 fee, revenues would increase over $5,000. This capital adds to the district’s overall operational budget for salaries, books, and other expenses.
A total of 165 parking spots are available in the Senior Lot, but students purchased a mere 115 out of the 165 first semester, a 15-tag drop from 2009’s second semester.
When South was renovated, the student lots overridden with construction equipment, students were permitted to park on the Wheeler side temporarily.
Though this segment of the road was not designed for parked cars, the temporary situation became permanent.
The district, not South’s administration, has jurisdiction over Brandeis Road and parking. In fact, the administration openly and willingly helps students in need to pay for parking, and will considers financial aid if a student wishes to explain his or her situation.
“It’s not the administration’s fault because it has been known to help students in need,” senior Alex Gershanov said. “The school committee needs to take a more responsible approach because not too many students can afford the $200 price tag. It’s just really unreasonable what the committee is doing.
“It’s an insane amount of money to pay per semester. It really undermines all the students that can’t afford it,” he said.
For Gershanov, a feasible price for parking is $60 to $80 per semester.
While there is pushback in opposition to the proposal by the School Committee, the parking fee reduction is a step in the right direction in the campaign for more reasonable prices; unfortunately for student drivers, the tradeoff is a loss of free parking.

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