Students and Administration Reflect on School Parking Issues

No-parking+signs+are+placed+around+Westside%27s+parking+lots+to+avoid+students+parking+illegally.+

No-parking signs are placed around Westside’s parking lots to avoid students parking illegally.

It is no secret that Westside High School does not have enough parking spots for all of its students. As the year goes on, the competition for finding a spot increases. Unfortunately, students who park in illegal spots or don’t have a parking pass will receive a ticket. These tickets come from the school or from the Omaha Police Department. 

Junior Charlie Davis received a state ticket for parking illegally outside of the jock lot.

“I was leaving [AP U.S. History] large group and when I got to my car I saw a police car blocking the area and writing tickets,” Davis said. “I got through all the chaos and got to my car to see I got a ticket.”

Davis said despite the no-parking signs, lots of students continued to park illegally so he didn’t think it would result in a ticket. 

“I felt sad and mad at myself for parking there,” Davis said. “There [were] no-parking signs [but] because of all the people there, I thought it was okay, especially since we were doing it for so long.”

Davis said since he received his ticket, he has been coming up with ways to make the situation better.

“I’ll probably only park there when I’m in a big hurry or I’m late for class,” Davis said. “Lately, I’ve been able to get rides to the front door after I park far on the street, so that’s made it a lot easier.”

Principal Jay Opperman says this issue isn’t something new and that it has been prevalent for a while at Westside. 

“This is my fifth year being principal, and I’m still aware of the parking issues here at school,” Opperman said. “It’s something that’s existed because we have a limited resource that gets tougher throughout the school year as we move through spring.”

Opperman said as more homes have been built in surrounding areas, pressure has been put on students to park closer to the school, which can make them eligible for state tickets.

“We’ve had to be giving out more tickets in our lots,” Opperman said. “Westside having a neighborhood built around it causes students to park in illegal spots, and they can receive state tickets from the Omaha Police.”

Opperman said as more students begin to drive throughout the year, parking becomes increasingly more limited.

“We notice each year as sophomores turn 16, we have more students with driver’s licenses driving to school, [putting] more pressure on a limited resource.” 

The new parking addition, finishing Aug. 1 of next year, will alleviate some of the stress for parking spots, but it will not completely fix the issue. 

“It won’t totally fix it; we have a high demand for parking,” Opperman said. “There’s a day and age where more students will drive to school and [adding more parking spots] will make it better. Obviously, 60-70 new spots will help quite a bit.”