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.

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. it just shows what is going on in city and county. I am retired member of one of the local rescue squad and still remember was sometime (if my memory is function right) that there was a major fire at high school. Thank God no one was hurt but what would have happen it this fire was during the day instead late evening and into the next morning. it was a very long night for allot of us fire and rescue, police, a very long night.

  2. Rob,

    My car is one pictured. I am parked EXACTLY where I am directed to park and have been directed to park for years. I am not in violation of any statute regarding parking, and my vehicle in no way blocks or impedes traffic.

    I would suggest that the person doing the complaining not lump those of us who are following directions and not creating a problem with others who are. It is hard enough to find volunteers to work at AHS athletic events as it is without being criticized for doing what they are told to do with regard to parking. Had they taken the time to simply ask about the parking arrangements with either AHS Athletic Management or the ACPD, it would have answered any possible questions. Thanks.

  3. Albemarle County School's Communications Officer responds to the post:

    Thank you for alerting the school board on Monday to a post that a listener made on your web site about parking at Albemarle High School. The blogger's name was Jorge Brooks, Jr.

    As the division's new communications officer, I followed up with the school principal and together with our facilities director and the local fire marshall, we walked the grounds to review parking and signage. We will be making some improvements over the next several weeks. We also reviewed each of the incidents that the blogger reported and found that several of them were not parking violations. Part of the confusion resulted from the fact that students have painted portions of the curbside around the school in the school colors, blue and red. These may have been interpreted to mean no parking since blue is the color used to signify handicapped parking and red also may have been perceived to be an indication of no parking.

    In any event, the school will paint over the blue and red and use only white and yellow (emergency vehicle access) to eliminate confusion and it will send all parents and students information about this, reminding families of the parking and traffic regulations around the school.

    Thanks for sending us the post.

    Phil Giaramita

  4. A fireman told me if I was ever parked illegally in a zone, they have the right to push my vehicle(at my expense)
    w/theirs to get it out of the way in case of an emergency. So no worries there.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here