Woodgrove’s Proposed Parking Plan is Passed


Photo by Connor Graham

Cars fill up one of the Woodgrove parking lots.

Written by Daniel Alvarez and Connor Graham

Imagine rows and rows of cars, all occupied by students that have just been in school for hours on end, wanting to get home and relax. The only thing stopping them from reaching their destination is the immense amount of traffic that clogs the exit every day. Every vehicle coming out of the parking lot is only given one exit, and getting stuck behind the stampede of buses that swarm out of the bus loop is a common occurrence. Finally, on October 9, the school board passed the proposal for a second entrance to Woodgrove.

The parking problem at Woodgrove is this: there are too many people all trying to leave out of one exit at the same time. A second exit from the campus was proposed and surveyed a year ago, and although the new exit has been approved, it’s going to be a lengthy process.

Jeff Schutte, a math teacher at Woodgrove and the Activities Coordinator, said, “If you don’t beat the buses, you’re stuck here until 4:15-4:20. So, I think we’re all holding our breath and waiting for the second exit to be built.”

This “second exit” has become even more necessary for creation due to the fact that the Woodgrove gravel lot has been closed. Contrary to popular belief, the gravel lot wasn’t shut down by the school, but rather, the county. The lot was designed to be eco-friendly, hence the rubber mats and grass. “It was never intended to be used as a daily parking lot. It’s intended to be more of an event kind of parking lot,” says Mr. Shipp.

The gravel lot’s closing has caused the traffic to become even more difficult since more students have to park at the front of the school or down at the stadium. Students sometimes have to wait after school due to the traffic.

Juan Jovel, a senior at Woodgrove, says he stays “around half an hour” after school, just to avoid the traffic. In the morning, our security officers have begun enforcing the parking pass rule more strictly by checking cars as they enter the lots at the school.

Photo by Daniel Alvarez
Cones block off the gravel lot.

The proposed exit was passed by the school board on October 9. Loudoun County plans to construct a two-lane road connecting Woodgrove with Hillsboro Road, and the road would be going through the Fields Farm property to the south of the school campus. In addition to the road, the county plans to build a park and an additional lot on the same property. However, before ground can be broke for either project there are several leases and annexation contracts that need to be worked out between the county and the owner of the property, Ralph Fields. While construction won’t start for a while, it will help in the future to alleviate traffic at both Woodgrove and Mountain View.

According to Principal Sam Shipp, the process is a very lengthy one.

Mr. Shipp said with a laugh, “Our goal is to have the second entrance completed around the time of your five-year high school reunion.”

The Woodgrove parking situation isn’t one that will be easily remedied, but according to Sigler, “compared to other schools in the area, Woodgrove students get out at a reasonable time.” With the proposed second exit being a possibility in the coming years, exit times for buses and student drivers should only get better in the future.