By Annie Mitchell
The Davis High parking lot underwent repairs and a layout reform last summer due to the inefficient traffic management and the deteriorating condition of the lot.
The construction was carried out by Abide Builders, a side contractor from West Sacramento. Woodland’s L&M Civil Engineering designed the project.
The lot is currently organized so that traffic flows in a strictly counterclockwise direction. Previously, vehicles would travel in opposite directions as they looked for a place to park.
“[The parking lot] is a lot safer now,” said George Parker, director of facilities, maintenance and operations for the Davis Joint Unified School District. “[The new layout] helps move queuing. People know where to go.”
Before the renovation, which began on June 13, the parking lot had two driveways, each of them serving as a joint exit and entrance. Drivers who wanted to park entered the lot at the same places that cars exited.
Now, one of the driveways is just an entrance, while the other is only an exit. This cuts down on traffic congestion and reduces the risk of collision at the driveways.
DHS Principal William Brown agrees that the modified parking lot is an upgrade from the first.
“It was falling apart, the paint was faded, the concrete barriers were busted,” Brown said. “It needed a touch up.”
This “touch up” included adding a new feature to the parking structure. Signs enforcing a 5 mph speed limit were posted to maintain a safe parking lot and pedestrian combination, according to Parker.
“[Drivers] are responsible for what they do,” he said. Disobeying these signs could land the offender a ticket.
Though less affected by the speed limit, DHS’s bicyclists feel an impact from the new layout as well. Sophomore Chloe Meyer parks her bicycle in the racks that line the lot and thinks that the updated arrangement provides a better bicycling environment.
“The arrows are brighter [in the parking lot] and you can see better,” Meyer said.
DHS Campus Safety Supervisor Tim Groth also believes that the current parking lot organization has had a positive effect on vision.
“It helps keep an easier eye on people going in and out if there’s only one entrance and one exit,” Groth said. “To me, [it] makes more sense.”
However, despite all these improvements, there is a downside. It could be dangerous for drivers who are more familiar with the old layout because they are so used to being able to turn into whichever driveway.
“I haven’t done it yet, [but] I might forget and turn into the wrong one,” Spanish teacher Janice Candelario said.
Candelario uses the parking lot with some frequency because she commutes every day from Da Vinci Charter Academy, where she teaches one Spanish class in the morning.
“For now things are working great,” Candelario said. “[Beforehand] it was a little crazy with people going in and out of the rows. I think it’s safer [now].”
Nevertheless, since the parking lot reopened, “one little fender bender” proved that the lot is not accident immune, according to Parker. However, the cause of this accident was attributed to the driver’s lack of attention and not the traffic organization.
Overall, Parker believes that parking lot project was a “good investment.” It cost roughly $500,000, including the cost for the repairs that were made to the DHS tennis courts earlier this year, and is expected to last 15 years.