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Complications presented by RAHS parking arrangement

Safety concerns, confusion over usable space

By Alexander Palermo-Wilde

Barrier separating RAHS' parking that's closest to the school from the museum's parking

Barrier separating RAHS’ parking that’s closest to the school from the museum’s parking

Amidst already-prevalent student complaints about parking, the Transportation Department of Highline Public Schools (HPS) recently audited the parking situation at RAHS. They deemed the current setup unsafe and the department is working on better solutions for students, parents, and staff.


“How we’re set up could be hazardous for bus drop-off and pick-up,” said RAHS Principal Therese Tipton. “We have student, staff, parent, and bus traffic all in the same parking lot—most schools have an alternative area for bus pick-up.”


Because the transportation department of HPS believes RAHS needs to refine its parking lots to ensure hazards are avoided and driver satisfaction is improved, administration is considering options for reducing possible concerns.


“There could be changes in where the buses come and go,” said Tipton. ”We definitely need more space, but we’re very limited because of our location.”


Director of Facilities and Services at Highline School District Sidney White often faces this challenge when prioritizing classroom space.


“When designing schools, the primary focus is placed on the school’s programs, and the amount of classroom space required to meet those needs,” said White. “The remaining space is then used to design the parking areas, driveways, and traffic flow.”


Combatting hefty vehicle volumes and traffic flow at schools are an enormous design challenge for traffic engineers, but for RAHS property, there is one more complication.


“The district has an agreement with the Museum, which allows us to lease the building,” said White. “The agreement spells out what areas we are authorized to use for parking, as well as those reserved for the Museum and its patrons.”


The district, as the tenant of the property, is not authorized to make any changes to the parking area without museum approval, including the addition of parking spots.


“The lease language states that the district is allowed to use 150 parking spaces from Mondays – Fridays, during the hours of 7 AM – 4 PM, September 1 – June 30 of each year,” said White. “The museum is looking for additional off-site parking for future needs but nothing [has been established] yet.”


The Museum of Flight lot, where some students have been parking, is reserved for the museum’s patrons and is taken advantage of during special events.


“There’s a barrier between the back of the pavilion parking and the parking closest to the school [which determines Museum of Flight guest parking],” said Tipton.“They have special events there so they want to make sure the parking is reserved there.”


Though the Museum of Flight offers parking for students without a parking pass across the street from the campus, some students have circumvented parking passes altogether by parking in the adjacent museum lot.


“Recently, I received a call from the gentleman at the Museum of Flight, and he said that several students had been parking in the back of the pavilion and they don’t have student permits,” said Tipton.


Although this parking lot is ordinarily inaccessible for RAHS students, it’s occasionally used for RAHS special event parking, such as Information Nights.


“Sometimes, when we have special events, we’ll take down the barrier that says, ‘Here’s where our parking spots are, and here’s where the Museum of Flight guest parking is,’” said Tipton.


Although additional off-site parking spots and modifications to RAHS parking are needed, a plan to implement them has yet to be established.


“Nothing is concrete, we’re just thinking about revamping our parking situation, changing the way things are orchestrated,” said RAHS Vice-Principal Tremain Holloway. “We want to lessen some of that confusion, [maybe] changing some of the lines.”

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