As class sizes get progressively bigger, the number of students who drive themselves to school each morning only increases. Recently, many students have addressed their concerns with the Shell Lot’s lack of parking spaces to accommodate every student who wants one. However, according to administration, the Shell Lot will not be undergoing any expansion, primarily due to environmental laws.
Most of these laws were put in place by Southwest Florida Water Management District, an organization tasked with providing water to all those who use it and preserving the water resources within its boundaries of west central Florida. Because of chemicals such as oil and gasoline from cars and Pine View’s proximity to the water, the amount of land covered by asphalt or shells is limited by law. “We have to be really cognizant of the number of cars we put in that lot,” Principal Dr. Stephen Covert said. It is very unlikely that this decision will be changed at a later date, simply due to how it is adhering to laws that, if ever altered, would more likely be stricter than current regulations rather than more lenient.
This is not the only restriction caused by environmental laws. Earlier in the year, when the Shell Lot became plagued with a multitude of potholes, many parents joined together to raise the funds for the lot be paved. They did so successfully and Covert was supportive of the plan, but regulations in place caused it to be halted, as said by administration. As it turns out, asphalt leeches even more chemicals into the ground than the cars do. Concerning how some students would be inconvenienced by the decision to not expand, Covert said, “If we have to choose between inconvenience and a car, and the environment and eventually what goes into our bodies; I’d rather choose the latter.”
By law, a certain number of parking spots need to be designated as handicapped spots, and another amount designated for visitors. All of the other spots in the Visitor Parking Lot are assigned to faculty and staff. This does not leave much room other than the Shell Lot for students to park. Without any expansion, some will have to forego driving themselves to school and find another form of transportation.