Ongoing and dangerous illegal parking at Albemarle High School
By Jorge Brooks, Jr.
After attending a few sporting events at Albemarle High School (AHS) this fall and parking in the main lot in front of the building, I noted that during many events, driveways leading back to the athletic fields were filled up with illegally parked cars—many stationed directly within clearly marked handicapped parking spaces and designated emergency fire lanes.
Having heard about how AHS rigorously enforces certain rules—but not others—concerning guests’ use of school grounds, I became concerned as to what would happen if a fire broke out in the eastern end of the AHS main building during one of these sporting events. Wouldn’t fire trucks have difficulty timely accessing critical fire hydrant locations blocked by these illegally parked cars? Wouldn’t rescue vehicles be delayed in providing life-saving services by having to navigate artificially narrowed drives and wheel stretchers in-between the tightly parked automobiles?
Further, I wondered, why does AHS allow non-handicapped people to illegally park in assigned handicapped zones? What happens to students, their parents and guests who actually are handicapped? Where are they to park?
I was going to contact AHS directly to ask these questions, until, after taking these pictures, I saw both an Albemarle Police Department (APD) vehicle and an AHS Maintenance Department vehicle parked in the immediate vicinity during a time of multiple and obvious infractions. It is clear to me that both the APD and AHS know exactly what is going on, but for some reason choose to ignore these serious violations.
I think this situation is outrageous, especially given the fact that AHS vigorously enforces other, less important “rules” concerning guests utilizing school property.
Taxpayers, athletic participants, handicapped individuals, families, and fire/rescue personnel all are being cheated by Albemarle County’s lax parking enforcement policies. Who will pay the price in the event of a catastrophic fire or other emergency at Albemarle High School?
Administrators, Supervisors, School Board members, police, coaches and other authority figures: you are on notice! Do not wait for tragedy in order to act. Enforce your laws equally and fairly, and there will be no regrets.