Last nine spots in school parking lot go to juniors, by lottery

11th-graders provided parking for first time in 10 years


BP Photo by Neima Fax

FULL: At the end of December break, nine spots in the redone student lot that did not belong to seniors were assigned to juniors, who moved in Jan. 2.

Since last Wednesday, Jan. 2, nine juniors have been assigned spots in the recently re-opened Shalhevet student parking lot at the northwestern corner of San Vicente Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.

The spots that were available to juniors were left over after all seniors in the school were given spots, either in the re-done old lot or at Tom Bergin’s tavern, whose lot Shalhevet is renting right next to school.

It is the first time in nine years that any juniors have school-provided parking spots. And it represents the final disposition of parking after months of unclarity as to what would happen when parking became available at school, and who would decide.  In the end, the administration decided and Agenda officers implemented the decision.

On Dec 21, Agenda Vice Chair Maya Tochner wrote the names of 13 juniors who’d applied for spaces on cards, and then picked nine out of a cup, she said, to determine who would park in the spots.

It was a first for the current juniors, who like all students in recent years had been scavenging the nearby streets for spots every morning while the school-owned lot was being used for construction trailers working on the Vinz apartment buildings across Fairfax.  Those who received spots said that their mornings would be easier and their days less stressful.

“Honestly it’ll be so helpful because I won’t have to worry about getting a ticket or leaving class to move my car,” said junior Caroline Edry.

Sarah Navon, who now usually leaves for school between 6:55 and 7 a.m., is happy for the extra time for sleep. She used to leave at 6:40 a.m.

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It takes me 30 minutes to get to school on a regular day, and not having a guaranteed spot makes it even harder on me.

— Garrison Kreitenberg, 11th grade


“I usually leave my house really early so i can find a parking spot,” said Sarah. “Now I can leave 20 minutes later and get to sleep a little more.”

Four juniors who were not picked in the lottery are now the only driving students who have to park on the street. They said not having a spot has a tangible impact on their mornings.

Junior Garrison Kreitenberg gets up around 6:10 a.m to find a spot on Fairfax in order to get to school for Hashkama minyan, an early davening group which starts at 7:25 a.m. Having far fewer Shalhevet students looking for street parking than before has not made it any easier finding parking on the busy street, he said.

“I’m definitely disappointed,” Garrison said. “It takes me 30 minutes to get to school on a regular day, and not having a guaranteed spot makes it even harder on me. I usually park on Fairfax and all of the spots usually fill up around 7 a.m., which forces me to go to hashkama and wake up very early.”

Also disappointed is junior Alyssa Wallack, who said that not having a spot means she is leaving her car at home.

“Even though I have a car, I’ve been having my parents drive me to school because I don’t have time in the morning to look for a spot, which is very annoying because I have a car,” said Alyssa.

This is not the first time in Shalhevet’s history that juniors have assigned parking spots, however. According to Boiling Point reports at the time, in 2008 the Constructive Consequences Committee, an elected body which enforced policies made by the Just Community, decided that they would assign 25 spots to seniors and three to juniors in the then-larger student lot on San Vicente.

Two juniors thought the senior-first policy was unfair and took the CCC to the Fairness committee, which upheld the CCC’s decision.  But administration responded by creating a small separate parking lot for juniors right on campus, outside the old Annex building in an area that had been used mostly for storage.

Meital Cafri, who carpooled from the San Fernando Valley, was one of the juniors who went to Fairness.

“I believe that a parking spot should be given to someone based on where you’re coming from and how many people you drive,” Meital said at the time — identifying a situation that persists 10 years later — “rather than how long you’ve been attending the school.”

This year, the only involvement students had in the division of parking spots was a poll taken at Town Hall last May in which the majority of students voted for “senior priority.” It was called an advisory poll at the time, and the administration did not suggest that it would follow the results until after the results had been counted.

The decision to allow all juniors, spaces for whom were not even mentioned in the poll, to enter the lottery instead of junior carpools or Valley priority was made by the administration.

Still, Mr. Weslow said the parking policy resulted from the May poll.

“The gift and the curse of the just community,” Mr. Weslow said in a text message response to questions. He said the administration had originally given all available spaces to seniors because “senior priority” won a plurality of votes in the May Town Hall, defeating schemes that would have taken carpools, distance and other factors into account.

“It is the same reason why the seniors initially that were commuting in from different locations were prioritized differently,” said Mr. Weslow. “It was agreed-upon by the students in a Town Hall and with a fellow vote to my knowledge… and no preferences (were) made based on siblings, commute, or involvement in co-curriculars.”

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