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How to Park on Pine

All of my sophomore year, I carpooled with alumnae Sarah Peterson, and we experienced Mercy’s parking problems first hand.

We began the year parking on Pine Street, the usual choice as it’s close to the school entrance and it is long which is great for parking. But as the year went on, Sarah and I grew more and more frustrated with people who wouldn’t park close enough together to get the most out of the limited space.

But during my sophomore year, this didn’t seem to be a problem every day. So why did we get tired of looking for space?

It may have simply been a mental thing. We got tired of being frustrated. We got tired of searching long and hard, every day for an opening along the sidewalks- and eventually we gave up.

The next day, Sarah Peterson parked on a different street.

She parked on William, which is north on 48th, but there didn’t seem to be as big a hassle with waking up early and finding that special place for the car (well, Jeep in her case). Yes, there are still a lot of people parking there, but here’s the thing: people could actually park back then.

The next year I was driving myself and my freshman sister Rachel to school everyday. And to continue in the steps of my previous carpool, I parked on William with the few exceptions of parking on Pine should the rare case of meeting with Ms. McCoy occur.

But parking on the streets back then took skills. People would slide their Chevys a couple of inches away from another girl’s Volkswagen in order to allow another person to park their Jeep in the last bit of space on the block. That took mad skills, bro!

But during senior year, I noticed something: people aren’t using their personal skills to blow people away with courtesy. I’d like to say when I turn into William, “Wow! Look, Rachel. That girl knows how to park!” But these days I’ve been sad. I know parallel parking in hard in general, but doing so on a hill?! So when I look at the space for a car between a homeowner’s van and a Mercy girl, a part of me dies inside.

“If only you had backed up a little,” I mutter as tears stream down my face.

Nobody wants to cry, and parking shouldn’t make anyone cry. So here are some tips for parking at Mercy that will make you smile happily:

Don’t be a space hog.
If you know that you’re parking by a section that can support more than one car, scoot up a little bit. As a reminder, you have to leave three feet of space between the front or back of your car and the driveways, but three feet is more than you think it is. You can also get out of your car and check to see if you still have more room in front or behind you.

There is also more space between you and the car in front of you than you think.
I know. I don’t want to damage anyone’s car either. But getting out and checking if you have more space always helps. And you don’t have to touch the gas pedal; letting off the brake a little bit allows your car to roll forward very slowly, which means you can control it very easily.

Getting out of a parking spot is a lot easier than getting in one.
Even if you get trapped by a car in front of you, or behind you, it is still fairly simple to get out. Short forward and backward rolls of your car, angling it out of the space does the trick. If you can’t go forward, go backward, and vice versa.

Know how to parallel park. 
It’s easy to once you know how to. If necessary, you are going to have to do it; it is a part of life. Better to learn it sooner than later.

Eventually, the skills learned in drivers education will all be put into place. Using common driving etiquette is one way to avoid the inevitable, and put off the road rage of an unexpected driver.

Catherine Poteat
Class of 2018. Swimmer, Mock Trial, a flair for the dramatics. -generic quote insert here- I wish me wifi were a wee bit more cooperative.
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