Students compete for parking

Demand for parking drives rental price of driveways up

Cammy Wray and Anna Ferguson

Parking at New Trier has always been a prominent issue, often causing fights over who will get the better spot and arguments with the person selling the spot to get the best price.

Due to intense competition for spots, students have already started applying for spots for next year. “Time is too short to get into a bidding war, we take the first three cars. We only have two spots left for next school year,” Angela O’Keefe, a driveway owner, said.

Demand for parking spots is so high that driveway renters do not need to advertise. “We don’t advertise the spots, demand is pretty high,” O’Keefe said, “we charge $3,400 [per spot].”

As you get farther away from campus, the price of the spot decreases but the demand is still high. A family who wishes to remain anonymous leases a spot further from the school. “We charge $2,000 to park for the entire year, $1,000 per semester,” they said.

Junior Amanda Stiffler is one of the students who has been trying to apply for a spot for next year already. “The spot I’m trying to get next year I have to compete for, and I have been.”

The driveway spots are typically closer than the school provided train station and Elder Beach spots. Additionally, only seniors can purchase one of the school’s spots, so for many families, the driveway spots are the best choice.

Students often find out about the spots through connections to the driveway seller’s family. Most of the time, the student’s family pulls strings to be able to get them a spot close to school in someone’s driveway before anyone else even has a shot at trying to get the spot. Randy Lauer, the father of junior Jack Lauer, found the spot for his son easily because of the owner of the spot was a close family friend. “Jack is lucky enough to have access to a car, and leasing a parking spot from a family we know was very convenient and easy,” Lauer said.

“I think right now we will look into both parking options, though I think leasing the same spot from someone in the neighborhood is probably the easiest option,” Lauer said.

Getting these spots might seem uncommon and like a luxury only a few students get to have, but that isn’t the case for most of the students here. “Most of my friends do,” Stiffler said.

These spots seem to be a necessity for the students who can’t be dropped off by their parents or find another way to get to school. “To try to get my parents to drive me, that’d be a no go,” senior Tristan Jacobs said. Many students’ parents work, so finding rides every day to school can be difficult.

“We charge $3,400 [per spot],” O’Keefe said of her three spots directly across the street from the school.

An alternate option to buying a driveway spot is buying one of the spots at the Indian Hill train station. Junior Maggie Desmond chose to park at the station instead of buying a driveway spot.

“I park at the train station because it’s way cheaper than finding a driveway,” Desmond said. One of the main factors that goes into choosing a spot at the train station over a spot in a driveway is cost; it is much more expensive to rent a spot in a driveway.

The longer walk, however, is enough for some to rent a driveway spot instead, but many students would rather walk than pay more for a closer spot. “I’m not going to buy a driveway spot next year because it is too expensive and the train station is close enough.” Desmond said.

Getting a spot at the train station may be less expensive, but it’s more complicated than buying one in a driveway. Director of student life Athena Aravantis is one of the directors of the process of getting a spot.

“We have an application, students will fill it out and apply for a spot, then we put all the applications in a lottery, and contact the people who were chosen and let them know we have a spot for them,” Aravantis said.

The spots also might be less expensive, but they definitely aren’t free either. “We charge $500 for the spot,” Aravantis said.

“[Parking] is a huge issue here, I think if there was a bigger parking lot, or a lot closer to school it wouldn’t be as much of an issue,” Stiffler said.