By Miriam Kobliner
The proposed parking lot at Great Neck North High School is really the solution to the problems that residents have presented; it is not the problem. By having a parking lot that will allow students to have a parking spot that they can count on, they won’t need to rush to school to compete for a parking spot. The entire process of driving to school and parking will be much more orderly—and students won’t need to park on the street in front of homes. A parking lot does not increase traffic. We aren’t attracting more students to the school by having a parking lot; after all, no one is building a shopping center there. The traffic is going to be there whether or not there is a parking lot and, if the students aren’t driving themselves, chances are, their parents are driving them. That’s also traffic.
Think of it as the difference between having a reserved seat for a performance versus a “first-come, first-served” situation, where you have to rush, trying to beat everyone else to a favorable spot on line in order to get a good seat. Or think of the mayhem when adults compete for parking spaces at local supermarkets on busy days. That won’t exist. There will be order because the student’s designated spot will be there when the student arrives. That is how it currently works at Great Neck South High School.
Great Neck North High School has been there since 1929. Beach Road has always been a cut-through street to get from Bayview to the high school, likely for as long as students have driven to school, which is a very long time.
I graduated from high school over 30 years ago and attended two different high schools in two totally different communities, neither of which was in Great Neck. Students drove to both. It was a normal thing. Students in suburban areas have driven to school for, I would guess, at least the past 40 years. Some have jobs after school; others have other reasons to drive.
The insinuation that the Board of Education buried the parking lot project in the proposed bond to make its detection less likely is just outright wrong and insulting to our Board of Education and district administrators. The Board of Education made countless presentations to the community and, in a slide presentation, they clearly listed “New Lower Parking Lot (97 Stalls)” in a list of only seven major projects for North High School. (It can be found on the district’s website in a document called “Potential Bond Referendum Discussion, Part 2, dated Nov. 14, 2016.”) I know this because I just looked for it, although I also attended the presentations. Residents might not have taken the time to attend the presentations or read the information that was sent in the mail, but the information was presented and it was distributed. It might have been ignored, but it was available.