It’s 8:23 in the morning. Class starts in just seven minutes, but you should have enough time to make it. You first drive down Old Lancaster Road, then Booth Lane, before taking a left onto Lancaster and seeing if Llanalew Road has parking. It is to no avail.
You glance at the clock on your dashboard. 8:26. Four minutes.
Now, you are faced with a decision: you can either park at the train station, which is illegal, but not enforced, meaning you would walk into your class at 8:33—three minutes late. You could also drive to a completely different area, but again, you would be late for class. You decide to drive into the Red Lot, even though you don’t have an assigned spot. You park, and walk into class right on time, at 8:30. For many students, this is a reality.
There are 57 available spots for student parking. This year, 86 Sixth Formers applied for parking spots on campus, providing a challenge for many Sixth Formers, who have to park off campus for one-third of the year. Fourth and Fifth formers are entirely unable to park on campus, also challenging for the administration, as each year, they have to figure out the best way for Sixth Formers to enjoy parking privileges.
Sixth Former Nathan Tellez struggles with the school’s parking situation.
“As someone who lives far from school, I am often subjected to unexpected traffic. This, combined with the 10-15 minutes it takes to find parking, can often make me late to class.” Tellez said. “I have two choices. One is to get up at 6:30, so I can either make it to class right on time, up to 45 minutes early, or get up at 7:15, and hope that I am able to find parking. The traffic is just so unpredictable.”
Tellez thinks it would be great if parking could be available for all.
“It would make my mornings a lot less stressful if I knew I had a parking space,” Tellez said.
It is no mystery that parking is limited. Haverford’s website emphasizes alternative methods to get to school, from trains to buses and carpooling.
“Upper school students of legal age may also choose to drive to the school, though parking is limited both on and off campus,” the website says.
While added parking would be the most obvious solution to this problem, Sixth Form Dean Ms. Brooke Kenna is skeptical.
“In an ideal world, we would have a parking garage or something. That’s a township thing, that’s a zoning thing. I think the best solution would be just everybody following the rules, and if we could find a few more spots here and there, or look at businesses and see if they have any parking spots available,” Ms. Kenna said.
Although Ms. Kenna’s skepticism may be discouraging, students have not lost hope for the possibility of year-round parking.
“Oftentimes, I have a lot of issues finding parking spots. This causes me to be late. I feel that, as a senior, I should be given parking year-round. Students not being able to park on campus can lead many people to park illegally,” Sixth Former Mark Quatrani said.
Although students struggle with parking, most faculty do not. English teacher Mr. Anthony Pariano never loses his parking spot.
“The only time it would be taken is non-school hours, which is not a problem,” Pariano said.
Despite the current situation, there is some opportunity to mitigate the problem at hand.
“Even with the spots being assigned right now, we have the issue of kids taking other kids’ spots,” Ms. Kenna said. “And I think that as seniors, as almost adults, there needs to be some accountability from you guys to follow the code and not park in somebody else’s spot.”
Sixth Former Jack Sullivan agrees.
“Sometimes I find someone parked in my spot. It is really annoying having to go through the process of finding who did what, and where I should park. I wish there was a way for everyone to respect each other’s parking spots,” Sullivan said.
Although parking is currently limited, the new purchase of a 20-million-dollar, 43-acre property on South Roberts Road may change this. Tellez would consider parking at the new property if the school provided a shuttle.
“I wouldn’t be opposed to it. It would certainly give me some peace of mind.”
However, the future of Roberts Road remains a mystery.
“The School has no finalized use for the property at this time. The School will be engaging various constituents in determining the land’s use, which will be shared broadly in due course,” said a school spokesman quoted in a late-July mainlinemedianews.com article.
While parking certainly isn’t ideal, it will likely remain so for quite a while. In the meantime, students should make the best of the situation by respecting each other’s parking spaces, leaving their houses five minutes earlier in the morning, and maybe even carpooling or taking the train, if possible.
“It is important that students understand that the administration is truly doing their best to make the most out of limited parking spaces,” Student Body President Luka Sekulić said. “More understanding towards the administration and respect towards others’ spaces would go a long way.”