The Gulf Breeze Parking Problem


Kristen Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, Online

Kristen Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, Online

“Being able to find a parking spot at Gulf Breeze High School is a miracle.”

  Above anything, being able to drive a car to school is a privilege. Being able to find a parking spot at Gulf Breeze High School is a miracle.

   If there’s anything that GBHS is known for outside of academics and athletics, it’s the constant parking issues. Not getting to school early enough to get a space, reserved senior parking spots being sold out before 8:00 am, cars getting towed from adjacent parking lots, the list goes on.

   One of the main issues with parking comes from the fact that GBHS sells more parking passes than they have spaces. They attempt to justify this in the vehicle registration form.

   “Possession of a GBHS parking permit does not guarantee a parking space,” the GBHS Rules and Regulations for Parking on Campus states. “The permit simply allows the student the opportunity to park legally on campus.”

   Here’s an idea: why doesn’t our school put a cap on the number of parking passes sold? There is no reason why all of the junior/senior spaces are taken up by 8:25 when school starts at 9:15.

   GBHS’s parking issue has a negative effect on many students driving to school. Junior Annabelle Henry parks her Toyota RAV-4 in the junior/senior lot, but not without frustration. “Students have to pay twenty dollars for a parking pass and they’re not even guaranteed a spot that they paid for,” Henry expressed.

   When I was a junior last year, I faced many issues regarding parking. Because I didn’t have a first period, most of the spots in the junior/senior lot were gone by the time I got to school. So, I parked at the field house. This worked out for me for about two months.

   One day, I arrived at the field house around 9:45 and most of the parking spots were taken – except for one. Since I was permitted to, I parked my car there. When I left school that day, someone knocked on my window and told me to leave immediately because I was parked in “Coaches’ parking.” I looked around the area I was parked in… there was no indication that showed that the spaces were reserved for coaches.

   Following this incident, I decided to trade my junior/senior pass for a Gulf Breeze Middle School pass, which only students who don’t take all six classes on campus are permitted to have. I didn’t face too many issues after that decision.

   As a senior, the main issue I’ve faced is not getting a reserved senior parking spot. I would have, if I knew the method that was being used this year.

   In the past, senior parking spots were sold and given out in a lottery system. This year, however, they were sold and given out on a first come, first serve basis. Unaware of this change and expecting the former method to be used, I woke up around 9:00 am on July 12, unable to buy the coveted space that I’ve wanted for three years.

   A solution for this particular issue would be for PTSO, who manage the senior parking spot sales, to choose one method and stick with it. For good. Don’t change it every year. This would be much easier on students and parents who are interested in purchasing a parking space.

   Staff parking spaces are also in question. Teachers and staff [including paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers and janitors] are meant to be at school between 7:45 and 8:00 am. Students usually start arriving at 8:15. So, if all of the teachers and staff are parked by 8:00 and there are remaining spots in those spaces, is it really a problem if students park there? Why not rebrand some of the staff parking spaces as additional junior/senior spaces?

   Another dilemma still stands: where should one park if every parking spot on campus is taken? Across from the high school, Sea Shell Collections, where Publix is located, has an abundance of parking spaces toward the end of the lot. These spaces aren’t close to the stores in the area and are within walking distance of GBHS. But, if students park there, they risk getting towed and fined.

   This is curious, considering that Sea Shell Collections doesn’t usually tow on weekends. To resolve this matter, GBHS administration should work with Sea Shell Collections and figure out a compromise for students to park in their lot without the risk of getting ticketed or towed.

   As noted above, with each parking problem that Gulf Breeze High School has, I provided a solution to improve or omit it.

   Students are more than ready to hit the brakes on GBHS’s parking problems.