The art of selecting a parking spot


Alysa Suleiman

The Harker School Saratoga Campus Parking map in Assistant Head of School Ken Allen’s office. Seniors participated in a lottery to determine parking spots on Matriculation 2021, and juniors who applied afterwards could also receive remaining available parking spots.

by Irene Yuan, Co-Managing Editor

“Where’s your parking spot?”

A question often asked of juniors and seniors who park on campus. At the beginning of each school year, upperclassmen who have their licenses are eligible to fill in a form and enter the parking lottery that determines if students will have a spot and where they will park for the year. Students pick their own spot, but the randomized order of the lottery is what determines when they get to choose.

One after each other in line, students are handed a post-it flag with their names pre-written on the flag. They have approximately 15 seconds to look at the parking diagram and stick their name in a spot. While it’s not the end of the world if one doesn’t get the location they had in mind, each spot does have its own advantages and disadvantages.

7:40 a.m.

If you use your locker regularly and tend to go to your locker immediately after arriving at school, pick somewhere (at the beginning of the school year) close to the building for convenience. For juniors with lockers in Dobbins, slots near the RPAC (4-22, 77-97) is close enough. For seniors with lockers in Shah, shoot for a spot near Davis Field or the Athletic Center (31-48, 52-68, 152-185).

Irene Yuan

7:55 a.m. 

If you are the type to be caught in the last-minute long lines of cars and have to sprint to your first or fifth period, a slot closer to the entrance of the school is most beneficial. In this case, any spot numbered 152 or higher, the ones that are across from Davis Field, buy you more time to rush across campus to your first class.

2:00 p.m.

With the sun beating down on your car all day, aiming for somewhere generally shady throughout the day (though no spot is perfect) is the best choice for you. While parking in the middle is closer to school itself, most of the locations against the Highway 280 wall have nearby trees that can provide shade.

3:00 p.m.

If you want to leave immediately after school, parking near the Athletic Center on the side closer to the buildings saves the trouble of waiting in long lines while trying to exit. With these spots (31-48), you will not have to circle around in your effort to leave. 

5:00 p.m.

If you typically leave later or maybe walk to the exit with a friend, consider choosing a parking spot next to your friend. Personally, location does not matter in choosing a parking spot. I don’t mind walking a little extra for the sake of having chose somewhere next to my closest friends. From knowing if they are on campus already from a single glance when pulling in to leaving one after another and following each other onto the highway on the way home, parking next to my friends was the best decision I could have made in those 15 seconds. 

But at the end of the day, preference is not the biggest factor in your selection. In the process of the lottery, with only approximately 15 seconds to look at the diagram and make your decision, it all depends on which places are already taken and what you choose in the spur of the moment. And if you are dissatisfied with your spot, you can always try to negotiate a switch with that of a classmate and get the switch registered with the faculty in charge of parking. Happy parking!