September 24, 2020

Parking lottery to reward carpooling students

In the new parking lottery, preferential treatment is granted to seniors who financially obligate to carpool to school. (Photo by Rachel Landau '16)

The parking lottery, a rite of passage for rising Wellesley High School seniors, is currently the only way in which students can secure one of 70 spaces in the parking lot. The lottery, which administrators hold biannually, offers students the chance to park in the lot at a cost of $250.

Next semester, the lottery will favor carpooling students, provided each member of the carpool pays a portion of the notoriously hefty fee. Students who sign up for a carpool will be guaranteed a space in the parking lot for the entire duration of second semester.

The change in lottery policy originates in the annual goals of the Green Team. Transportation to and from the high school remains a problem in need of work and is a priority for the 2015-6 school year.  

Keenan Ashbrook ‘16, one of the members of Green Team who helped spearhead this program, articulated the importance of this new system in how it will serve both students and the environment.

“Increased carpooling has numerous positive effects,” Ashbrook said. “Besides helping to reduce emissions, carpooling should reduce traffic and also allow more students to obtain guaranteed, discounted spaces.”

Of course, the association between environmental awareness and carpooling is a given, but the policy change enacted by Green Team benefits nearly everyone. The discount on parking is an especially valuable opportunity.

Joshua Wolkoff ‘16 elected not to enter the lottery last spring for personal reasons, but noted that the cost of a parking space can be a major deterrent for those considering the lottery.

“Because of the price, only certain people have the opportunity to have a spot, as some people can’t afford it, which makes it not as fair a system as it could be,” Wolkoff said.

The changes to the lottery should reduce the problematic nature of the high prices set by the school committee. Yet, the system has yet to be perfected.

Just as the student population size increases, the relative number of spaces available seems to dwindle. Parking alternatives on Paine and Washington Streets require advance planning and early starts to the day, while the buses seem rather empty.

With the parking lottery changes occurring this winter, the Green Team has already begun planning other ways to confront transportation at the high school—members brainstormed ways to extend carpooling lists to parents, and to increase the demand for buses.

Vice principal Lynne Novogroski said she also hopes to increase student ridership for the buses, but thinks that the carpooling option will put the student area of the parking lot to good use.

“Our hope is not that we’ll be able to accommodate more cars, but more kids,” she said.

(Rachel Landau ’16, Photo Editor)

 

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