Delia Segovia lives on Lockwood Drive. Every weekday morning she wakes up at around 6:00 a.m. to drop off her daughter at Blair. The shortest and quickest route leads her to University Boulevard and then into the student parking lot, where she stops briefly to let her daughter off. A few good-byes and familiar gestures are exchanged before Segovia leaves for work.
Segovia's morning routine is typical-on Oct. 19, over 60 cars violated school rules by dropping students off at the University Boulevard entrance of Blair rather than at the designated student drop-off site along Colesville Road. These drop offs delay buses and student cars that are suppose to enter through the University Boulevard side.
The sheer volume of cars in the student parking lot in the early mornings increases the risk of accidents and endangers student drivers, according to PTSA Co-President Fran Rothstein. She believes this has been an ongoing problem at Blair, citing a recent car accident between senior Phuson Hulamm and a parent who was not supposed to be in the parking lot.
This year, the problem seems to have worsened, according to Security Assistant José Segura, in charge of monitoring the University Boulevard parking lot in the mornings. Parents are informed of Blair's rules through flyers and security personnel like Segura who patrolled the student parking lot area in the beginning of the year. They still drop students off on the wrong side, contributing to ongoing traffic congestion problems. "Parents are not cooperating with us," said Segura. "I spent two weeks turning parents around [at the University Boulevard side], and they still don't get it."
Principal Phillip Gainous also acknowledges many parents' disregard for school regulations. "I think the only thing that's going to make a difference is if someone gets hurt," he said. "Most parents feel they are not a problem."
Student drop offs in the prohibited lot have been a problem ever since Blair's move to its new building, according to Gainous.
Current measures to reduce the number of parents who drop students off on the University Boulevard side have been ineffective, said Gainous. Rothstein has encouraged Blair administration to ask the police to ticket parents who drop students off in unsafe areas.
Senior Emily O'Brien, who drives to school every morning, concurred. "Technically, people are breaking the law," O'Brien said. "[Ticketing] would be the harshest punishment and probably the only truly effective thing that would stop the problem."
During the week of Oct. 25 police officers began to patrol the University Boulevard side to discourage parents from using the entrance as a drop off. Parents who violated traffic laws in addition to school rules while driving students to school were ticketed.
Parents in the lot in the mornings have been the cause of significant student frustration, according to senior Kay Nguyen, who has been late to class twice because of these delays.
The student parking lot is intentionally separate from the parent drop off location to reduce the risk of accidents, according to Rothstein. The drop off location is paired with the faculty parking lot because faculty members arrive at school earlier in the morning and are more experienced drivers.
With parents disregarding Blair policies, student drivers have to contend with the parents in the parking lot, putting both student patience and safety to the test. "I'm already trying to get to school on time, and then I have to deal with something extra," said O'Brien.
Senior Edgard Martinez expressed a similar frustration with parents making frequent stops. "They hold up everyone else, because sometimes they just stop in the middle of the parking lot," he said.
Rothstein encourages parents to value student and pedestrian safety above all. "I think parents need to put students' safety on the very top of their list, and if it means getting to work ten minutes late, so be it," she said.
Nonetheless, for many parents, advantages to using the University Boulevard entrance outweigh these risks. Dropping students off on the University Boulevard side is considerably more convenient for some because of where they live. For Segovia, driving onto the Colesville Road side would lead to 15 minutes of additional traffic.
Security Assistant Everett Campbell attributes many of these problems to Blair's location. "It's part of the unfortunate dynamics of this campus," he explained. Driving around to the Colesville Road side when University Boulevard is closer forces many parents to make a U-turn on Colesville. "I can almost understand parents' reluctance," said Campbell.
Still, there are many parents like Karen Leeman who drop their child off on the Colesville Road side despite the convenience of the University Boulevard entrance. "[The Colesville drop off] doesn't take much more time," said Leeman.
Yicong Liu. Yicong Liu is a junior in the magnet program at Blair high school. She enjoys the many (I mean many) wonderful things in life, but mostly the fundamentals: food, sleep and fun. During the hectic school week, Yicong can be found staring at her computer … More »