While some middle schoolers and even some underclassmen might underestimate its issues, the junior and senior classes along with the faculty know all too well the dangers of the Pace back parking lot. Pace has made a few changes to its structure over the years to accommodate the growing numbers of students and faculty members. But last year’s parking situation was lackluster in its ability to safely accommodate all the upperclassmen and faculty, resulting in numerous car collisions, ranging from small “love taps” on someone’s fender, to ripping off a woman’s car door.
“The spaces are so tight, if one person parks poorly then that messes up all the spots around them,” said senior Ann Rafeedie. “And parents need to stop dropping their kids off in the middle lane. That’s how accidents happen.”
Last year, there were not enough parking spots for the junior class, causing the administration to suggest solutions such as half the juniors parking on campus for the first semester, and the other half parking the next semester, along with promises of money and snack bar credit for those who wanted to give up their spot. Thankfully, such extreme measures were not implemented with the Pace administration asking faculty to volunteer to park off campus and take a shuttle or walk from St. Anne’s. Several teachers gave up their spots on campus to create room for the students in return for monetary compensation.
The parking predicament this year clearly echoes the issues of last year. Again, the small lot barely fits the upperclassmen and faculty. To combat this overcrowding, the parking forms sent out to students over the summer also included an option to liquidate one’s parking spot for snack bar money. In addition, some faculty members have opted to park at St. Anne’s again.
The tight nature of the spots themselves is quite distressing, with very little room for error. This is not the ideal scenario for a class of novice drivers. So far, this year’s students have only had a couple of fender benders and taps, but more accidents are sure to come as the year progresses.
To make matters worse, the carpool line has repeatedly been backed up. This causes parents dropping off, picking up, and even parking to wait for students, to file into the second lane of the parking lot, further clogging the already choked lanes. With cars backed up onto West Paces Ferry Rd., several students have been late to school due to the traffic. “My trek from Dunwoody went from 40 minutes to 60 minutes to get to Pace in the morning,” said senior Andrew Ladden. “Strictly because I could not pull into the parking lot on time.”
However, there is hope. Plans for a new, state-of-the-art parking lot have been drawn. This new lot will take out half of the lower practice field, creating new spots for students and faculty as well as three brand new facilities for housing athletic equipment and security offices. The new parking lot is a component of the proposed Master Campus Plan that Pace has put forward. These projects are still waiting for neighborhood sign off and are subject to change. While this year’s upperclassmen can’t enjoy the fruits of the new plans, future students will likely no longer deal with the issues of Pace’s infamous parking lot.