The Structural Issues with BSM’s Parking Lot, Revealed

Over the past few years, the BSM parking lot has gained a reputation for being chaotic. This parking space has a lot of different opinions about its nature and how it functions. Many see space for improvement while others do not see problems involved.

Many problems between parents and students at BSM on the topic of driving communications start conflicts due to the parking lot situation. Before and after school, flow of traffic through Barry Street West interferes with both the BSM community and people who live in the neighborhood that have to use the roads to get to work. “These last few years, Coach Creer and I have worked together to put out diagrams and a whole write up in the Knightly News which was sent out to parents. We show exactly what needs to happen for drop off and pick-up. And then we also give reminders when it’s in the fall before the winter season,” Director of Activities Cami Dahlstrom said.

Just another way to exit or you know or another entrance would be nice, the lot gets so backed up in the morning and afternoon and takes forever,

— Sean McMenomy

The Benilde-St. Margaret’s parking lot has proven to be a very problematic feature to the members of BSM when driving near the school. While the problems are identified, it is hard to find a solution to the bad flow of the lot. “Just another way to exit or you know or another entrance would be nice, the lot gets so backed up in the morning and afternoon and takes forever,” Assistant Parking Lot Instructor and Head Football Coach Sean McMenomy said.

BSM has been struggling with parking capacity due to the increasing number of students enrolling as well as students starting to drive themselves to school. As seasonal problems rise, it is rare for the school to have this much difficulty this early in the year, and it is not looking like it will get easier. Due to the small amount of the sophomore class being able to drive so far, this problem can only thicken as the year goes on and more students start needing parking spaces. “When the parking lot was created, it was not fit for the size of the school now. We weren’t as big, and we weren’t as busy, you know. Also this area of the city was not as booming and busy all the time. So, yeah, I think any new parking solution that we build will be an improvement upon what we have already,” McMenomy said.

Conflicts with the parking lot does not only affect the senior/faculty lot, but also affects the underclassmen that park in the Beth El lot. Having to deal with parents picking up and dropping off their children. “A lot of parents come in and pick their kids up in the Beth El lot so it’s very busy during the time so it makes it a lot harder to get in and out. Especially with the more students in the Beth El lot,” junior Gus Bell said.

Unfortunately, the situation is set to worsen in the near future. BSM is planning on implementing a new weightlifting facility. This new facility would most likely take over the faculty specific parking lot. This would decrease the number of parking spots which could be detrimental to the parking problems here at BSM. “It really depends on where our next addition will be put onto our campus. If it’s if we build upwards…there wouldn’t be any impact on parking. It just depends on if we increase our footprint. If we do increase our footprint, we would have to increase our parking per city zone requirements through St. Louis Park,” Dahlstrom said.

Upon many other problems due to how old the parking lot is, the condition of warning signs and other instructive signs/equipment have been becoming illegible. “I think we need signs that say Do Not Enter, current signs not rusting ones, because you can’t read them. We also need all the markings on the light to be repainted. I would like to have double arrows coming in from the street all the way through the show. There are two lanes when you drive into the light and more streets with more signs that demonstrate one way,” Head Parking Lot Instructor Joe Creer said.

The flow of the parking lot actually can be pretty good if people just follow the information of the maps and other info that I put out every year,

— Joe Creer

The parking lot problems at BSM are not new. There continue to be driver issues since many new students come to BSM each year. Every year students attend a session in the theater to learn the rules of the lot. There is also a map which shows exactly how people need to execute near the lot. “Presentations are important, whether it’s video, which is pre-recorded, or just a simple presentation at the beginning of the year by Mr. Creer… people need to listen. He’s the face of our building when people come in the morning and leave at night. As a community we need to be on the same page. We all want to be smooth and safe and I think these things would go a long way,” McMenomy said.

Coach Creer has been directing traffic at BSM for over 10 years. Since he got here he has implemented new ideas into the parking lot to maximize efficiency with the limited parking space BSM has. “We didn’t have the double lane turn. We also didn’t have the flow from the backend of citizens from the neighborhood trying to get to work. We didn’t have the identification of double lanes inside of the parking lot or directional photo cones and the direction for the wands,” Creer said.

Overall the parking lot at BSM has a lot of room for improvement. Many of these advancements need to be done internally. If we come together as a community and as a school many of the common confusion problems will be solved. There have been improvements recently. “The flow of the parking lot actually can be pretty good if people just follow the information of the maps and other info that I put out every year,” Creer said.