The Parking Lot: The Lungs of AMHS

Let me help you navigate this maze

The AMHS parking lot is, arguably, the number one parking lot in the United States (U.S. News and World Reports 2019). It consists of many parts, sub parking lots if you will, and all together hold around 260 parking spaces. Although it may seem simple, when the 3:30 bell rings at the end of the school day, chaos erupts. Students sprint out of their fourth block classes to get to their cars before the rush, only to find an incredibly long line of cars from both Magnet and SOA already lined up. When leaving school, minutes matter. Those that sprint out of their classes and leave their spot right around 3:31-3:32 can make it out of campus within a few minutes. However, if you wait till around 3:35, you’re doomed. You can spend up to 15 minutes just leaving the parking lot due to the afternoon rush, potentially causing you to be late for your afternoon activities. If you find yourself thinking β€œHow can I become more time-efficient at leaving school in order to arrive home as soon as possible?” you are in the right place. Here is a detailed list of parking lot advice and etiquette to help.

First, you must get comfortable with the layout of the lot. Courtesy of Lily Peterson, you will find a detailed illustration with the parking lots of the Bonds Wilson Campus below.
1. The Teacher Lot: 100% off-limits to students and parents dropping their children off. Period.

2. The Senior Lot: Also home to some junior cars as well.Β 

Detailed diagram courtesy of Lily Peterson

Benefit: closest to the doors of the building so you can run to your car quickly
Downfall: Pretty far from both exits of the lot
3. The Junior Lot: Holds mostly junior cars, some sophomore, and some senior. Also home to the visitor’s lot.
Benefit: Very close to the second exit of the lot (6)
Downfall: Quite a long walk from the main building
4. The SOA Lot: irrelevant to magnet students
5. Exit #1: Located right at the end of the carpool line
6. Exit #2: In between the junior magnet lot (3) and the SOA lot
7. The Sports Lot (not pictured in this diagram): Not really for athletes, mostly filled with sophomore and junior cars
Benefit: Easy to enter the carpool line which leads to Exit #1, closer to the main building than the β€œjunior” lot
Downfall: gravel is not as luxurious as the concrete of other lots, kind of a bumpy ride, farther from the main building than the β€œsenior” lot

Secondly, you must get comfortable with the different routes you can take to leave campus. Here are the recommended routes based on your parking location
1. If you park in the junior lot, it only makes sense for you to leave through exit #2 (6).
2. If you park in the sports lot, it only makes sense for you to merge into the carpool line and leave through exit #1 (5)
3. The senior lot gets tricky. Personally, as someone who parks in the senior lot, I find that most people who park in the senior lot should merge into the carpool line and exit through exit #1 (5). However, if you park on the leftmost row of the senior lot near the bridge to the junior lot (looking at the senior lot from above), you probably should drive through the junior lot and exit through exit #2 (6).

Finally, you should be aware of and follow these simple etiquette rules to maintain order and safety in the lot.

1. PARK WITHIN THE LINES! AMHS parking spaces are plenty big enough for basically any car. Parking over the line makes it difficult for those that park around you. If you frequently park over the lines, it reflects your lack of driving ability, and you should consider carpooling with someone else. If you don’t get it the first time, keep trying until you do! No judgment here!
2. DO NOT have casual conversations behind vehicles that are not your own. Doing this blocks other drivers from leaving the lot. Also, PLEASE walk with speed when walking to your car.
3. Understand that when each small row of cars is merging into a bigger line, each line takes turns letting people from other lines in. This helps establish order and prevents other lines from backing up. Although this concept is simple, many students (primarily underclassmen) struggle taking turns. Cutting someone off in the parking lot is an easy way to make an enemy.

4. Don’t park in a spot that is not yours!

According to Ms. Pinckney, there is hope for parking lot renovation. Last year, Ms. Pinckney proposed to reverse one of the lanes of the carpool line to make it double as an exit. Unfortunately, this was turned down, but at least renovating the parking lot is a topic of conversation. The parking lot may seem like a complicated maze that is difficult to master, but hopefully following these unspoken rules will help decrease the chaos.