Street parking issue analyzed

Bailee Doman, Multi Media Editor

At the beginning of the school year students are able to purchase parking passes which allow them to park in the main lot and the third lot.
But for some students they have to find parking on the streets. This might equate too many problems including not being able to find parking or only finding four-hour parking spots.
Engineering Services Manager Colleen Harris talks about why there are four-hour parking spots in close proximity of the school and how that was decided.
“The four-hour zones were established by city council back in 2011 as a part of a downtown parking program addressing concerns that the city council got from downtown residents, the downtown employers and their employers, as well as high school employees and high school students,” Harris said.
Harris expresses the concern of the people of downtown Puyallup when the zones were put into effect.
“The concern was that with the Sounder station located downtown, that Sound Transit folks were utilizing all of the on-street parking which was not leaving any room left for the high school students to park, for the folks that visit the downtown to park for businesses and for the residents of the downtown area to park. The council asked staff to implement a parking program and our focus was to try and centralize the parking where it made the most sense from the standpoint of allowing limited long-term parking in the downtown,” Harris said.
Harris also expanded on why the signs say the times that they do.
“The roads in and around the high school were all zoned with an eight-hour time zone that starts after the first train leaves. So we were confident that the parking that was [near the high school] using would be available for the high school kids,” Harris said.
In the past the city has done much to regulate the conundrum of parking space in Puyallup but the unique problem of parking changed from year to year as the student population grows.
“The school is in essence responsible for an entity to provide parking. But there is a big difference from when the high school was first built and kids riding buses versus driving their own cars today,” Harris said.
Harris tells how parking is different from when she went to PHS.
“I am a graduate of PHS and in 1979 when I was in Puyallup we never thought about driving our own cars to school because we did not have cars. So the parking at the high school since it is an older establishment, was more than sufficient, back in my day. A lot of those lots were completely empty, because there was no need for parking. But [this] generation has started doing more driving and that certainly put more of a demand on and the school district sees that at all of their high schools,” Harris said.
She further explains what the city is doing in terms of trying to help the current parking situation.
“The city is not doing anything at this point [to help the current parking problems]. That would be up to the school district to look at doing,” Harris said.

Harris explains what students should do if they are having trouble finding parking and what could come out of parking in a four hour parking spot.
“I would encourage them to park elsewhere. If they do park in a four-hour zone and they do not have the residential exemption sticker they will be [ticketed],” Harris said.
Security guard Jim Jenkins further explains Harris’ idea if you cannot find parking.
“Park about a block out, the farther you go there is more eight-hour parking,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins talks about some of the problems with parking around the school.
“The main problem is [students] do not park in the eight-hour spots and have to go off campus to move [their car],” Jenkins said.
Some students have problems parking in the lot because some people park in the lots illegally. Jenkins shares what a solution to this problem might be.
“If fewer people would park in the illegally we would have more spots open,” Jenkins said.