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The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

NT needs to rethink its parking predicament

Parking has become a common issue for many New Trier students
Parking remains a challenge at New Trier

Students at the New Trier High School Winnetka campus commute to school in several different ways. Some bike, some walk, and some take the bus. However, a very popular form of transportation is driving. A major issue that comes up year after year is the number of parking spots available on campus. The majority of New Trier’s parking spots are reserved exclusively for teachers which, of course, is a priority. As a result, spots for students are very limited. Currently, these school-provided spots are only available for seniors who first must win a parking lottery. Even if you win the lottery, you are still left with a hefty fee of almost $2000 to claim the spot. If you don’t win the lottery, you are stuck with going to the private market where premium spots on local neighbors’ driveways can cost up to $4000 per year. And even getting one of those can sometimes take winning a lottery.

New Trier spent a year on the massive athletic renovation that created a completely new sports environment. Why not use the same resources to improve the parking situation?

New Trier needs to create parking that is more available and accessible to the general student population. There are numerous ways for this to happen: expanding school parking lots, decreasing or eliminating the parking spot fees, and leasing spaces from local businesses or the village of Winnetka that they then offer to students.

While some people may believe that student parking is not a priority, I believe that it is vital for various reasons. Some students take early bird classes and need to be at school earlier. Others need to stay late for after-school clubs or athletics. This can be very difficult for those who live further from the school and need to arrive on time or leave late but don’t have parking access. While some may argue that the school bus is a viable option, it is also expensive and doesn’t work for students who need to be at school during off hours. If the school provides opportunities such as early bird classes or late activities at school, it should make sure they are accessible to all students.

New Trier spent a year on the massive athletic renovation that created a completely new sports environment. Why not use the same resources to improve the parking situation? The obvious yet difficult solution is to expand and create new parking spots. While some may argue that New Trier should build a brand new underground parking lot, that is too expensive and unrealistic. The most realistic option is to expand the already existing parking lot. Even though the Winnetka campus space is very limited, potentially reducing the size of our many fields could work to create more parking spots. 

If anything, New Trier should decrease the fee for student parking spots. The $1000+ fee is simply not affordable for everyone. It is arguable that changing the price of the parking spots is not that easy. The prices of the spots are directly influenced by how much New Trier pays for the land to provide the parking. Additionally, people who are offering their driveways for parking have the right to choose how expensive this parking is. However, to promote affordability, the school should continue to search for more parking spots that could be cheaper. One option is to lease spots from local businesses or the village that may be farther from campus. While closer spots may remain more expensive than others, spots that are farther away from the school could be offered at a lower price.

New Trier’s parking situation has the possibility to change as other schools in the area have found reasonable solutions. At Glenbrook South High School, anyone can apply for a parking permit, which, if approved, costs $300. Same goes for Glenbrook North High School. Since these similar schools were able to create a much more accessible and affordable student parking system, New Trier should as well.

View Comments (1)

Comments (1)

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    Phil Jung
    Apr 2, 2024 at 5:04 pm

    While I agree with your sentiment and the need for additional parking spaces, it is not fair to compare the parking situations at the Glenbrook campuses, which are much larger and have the space available for parking. The Glenbrook North and South schools were opened in the 1950s and 1960s, respectively, whereas New Trier Winnetka campus was opened in 1901, seven years before the Model T, so parking lots were not considered when they designed the campus.

    I can think of a few options off the top of my head, most of which have probably already been considered by the NT administration:

    – Create more parking spaces next to the practice fields on the East. The parking lot at the south end of the track could be extended Eastward to provide at least 100 more parking spots.

    – Encourage the increased use of public transit (train, bus), maybe offer incentives for using those methods.

    – Expand the inter-campus shuttle service between the Winnetka and Northfield campus, which has ample parking. Shuttle service could be increased with more frequent shuttles and longer operating hours to accommodate the early and late commuters.

    – An obvious but unpopular solution would be to switch campuses between Winnetka and Northfield.
    Northfield is a larger campus, has plenty of parking, and has more space for expansion of the facilities and parking. The campus facility could be renovated just as the Winnetka campus, but probably for less money.

    Since the Northfield campus is for freshmen, few of whom drive to school, the parking lot is not used as much, mostly by students already shuttling to the Winnetka campus.

    Metra service will obviously not be available, but perhaps NT could request additional Pace bus service.