Parking off campus

The ongoing controversy


New sign threatening towing at entrance to Market Square at Dominion Valley (Photo courtesy of Maddi Koch)

Michael Barbuti, Author

Battlefield High School’s student population is increasing more and more each year. As a result, Battlefield’s student parking lot has lost the capability to serve all of the students who drive to school. Over the last few years, students desperate to find parking have chosen to park at the local supermarket store, Giant, and the pool parking lot at the Dominion Valley gate on Graduation Drive. This practice has agitated many members of the local community, mainly Giant’s management and Dominion Valley’s Homeowner’s Association (HOA). This year especially, tensions have reached an all time high between the students parking off campus and these prominent community members.

This time of year the volume of Battlefield students driving to school is the highest it will be all year. Juniors and seniors are still driving of course, but now many sophomores are starting to get their licenses and want to start driving to school too. This time of year is when residents of Haymarket get most annoyed by off-campus parking, because there is a much larger volume of student drivers than any other part of the school year.

Junior Garrett Ho is a resident of the Dominion Valley (DV) gate next to Battlefield, where so many students now park. Ho believes that his neighbors are not aggravated by students parking in the pool lot, because the pool is not used during the school year. Ho thinks the main annoyance is students who park on the side of the street right within the gate. Cars parked on the side of the street are “annoying residents, as it jams up the road and can make it more dangerous for everyone,” according to Ho. If the street parking did not occur, Ho does not think there would be much of a problem.

Giant Food’s parking lot is another off-campus parking hot spot. Recently management there has become annoyed at the sheer number of student cars taking up spaces meant for their customers. Recently, a sign was put up to warn against parking in the whole Dominion Valley Market Square area. The sign threatens towing of anyone who is not a customer or tenant.

Battlefield’s administration does everything in its power to appease the residents and businesses of its community on this matter. Recently, Principal Ryan Ferrera sent out an email on this subject to all parents with kids attending Battlefield. Ferrera wrote, “Vehicles parked on non-school property are at risk of being towed by management of businesses and HOAs, which poses an inconvenient and costly problem for our students.” Ferrera goes on to recommend that students do their best to avoid parking in those areas in order to help Battlefield be a positive member of the community.

Some students believe Battlefield should be trying to do more to accommodate its growing population of students who drive to school. Junior Noor Hunt is one of the many students who park in the DV pool parking lot, and is a resident of another DV gate. Hunt says, “The school shouldn’t charge $100 for a spot.” Many students find the parking pass price rather high, which is another reason why some do not park on school property. Hunt also goes on to say that the school parking lot should be expanded. With the growing population of students, it is likely that the parking lot will need to become larger sometime soon.

This problem will most likely not end soon, and will continue to exist for years if something is not changed with Battlefield’s parking situation. Students have nowhere else to park, but residents of the community do not appreciate their neighborhoods and shopping areas being so congested. It will fall to Battlefield’s administration to come up with a solution before tensions escalate even higher.