Parking decal agreements prove disastrous, unfair

Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer beware

As students begin to drive, the need for parking at the school becomes an obvious necessity. So, one would assume that parking spots would first be reserved for upperclassmen.

One would also assume that as sophomores become licensed mid-year and beyond, and still pay the the obligatory $45 for a parking decal, it should be their responsibility to find parking in the correct school lot and respect older students.  

The statement on the parking form that all students must complete to apply for a decal boldly states “By signing below, you are bound by the terms stated above,” a phrase that is visible on nearly every contract or agreement. 

In the student parking lot agreement, students are not guaranteed a parking space despite paying $45 for a decal.  In fact, in large bold letters, above the dotted line, the application on the school’s website says, “PURCHASING A DECAL DOES NOT GUARANTEE YOU A PARKING SPACE.” However, this same parking policy and rules are clearly dated August 2007.

Yet, students, eager to simply drive, never really consider the consequences of the agreements until there is a dispute between parties.  In this case, that dispute is between the upper classmen and the lower classmen and has become a problem that has persisted for years.  

The parking lot is oversold, which means that more decals are sold then spots available.  In addition to that, a plethora of people who do not buy passes or who are newly licensed sophomores park in the lots of paying students.  Yet, student complaints seem to fall on deaf ears and only carry so much weight as they are bound by the terms of the parking agreement.

Traditionally, seniors have parked in the senior lot until it is full, then they may park in the junior lot. Yet, if both lots are full, tough luck.  These unfortunate students have to park at the Great Neck rec center about one-half mile down the road and walk to school, no matter the weather. 

Those seniors who have a morning excused block receive the short end of the “first come first serve rule.” All in all it is a massive inconvenience to have to park and walk from the rec after paying for a decal.  To add insult to injury it is infuriating to walk past cars in the lot which have no pass.  

While, students are initially told that parking is based on a “first come first serve” principle.  And, it seems more often than not that “illegal parkers” are not punished with the first warning windshield warning sticker or the second offense car boot.  

Specifically, there are 170 parking spots in the junior lot, yet more than 200 parking decals have been sold.  Yes students understand that they agreed not to have a guaranteed a spot, yet overselling the parking lots should not take place when the price tag is $45 a decal.  

The conglomerate of overselling the lot, illegal parking, and the first come first serve rule has causes preventable frustration for students.  Parking passes either should not be oversold or the price tag of $45 a decal should be halved.  

Students’ money should be valued like any product, yet the purchased parking passes so not guarantee spots. If someone buys a package and it doesn’t come, should that person get their money back? This mindset is not student-centered around, nor is it in the best interest of students and their safety.

In the future, administration should consider an overhaul to the parking decal system.  Perhaps once this issue is brought to the attention of someone who should actually makes and enforces the rules, rather than someone who simply sells the decals and says “oh well” when a problem arises.If all students are required to pay for parking, then those who do not pay, should deal with the appropriate punishment.

Furthermore, there should be tiers for purchasing parking decals such as lowering the price to coincide with the amount of time parking is necessary. Overselling and lack of enforcement are causing more problems than actually taking the time to consider a solution.