HINSDALE — The demand for student parking at Hinsdale Central outweighs the supply.
With just 200 available parking spaces for students, administrators have limited initial applications to seniors, and they can only select one semester of the year for a spot.
For the 2013-14 school year, there were 345 total applications for parking permits, including 155 for the first semester and 190 for second semester. The permit fee is $75 for one semester.
Central has 698 seniors this fall, which means about one half of the senior class wanted a parking permit.
“All of those 345 students who applied for a permit would want it for the entire school year, which would leave 145 students who want one completely without a permit,” said Kimm Dever, Central’s director of deans. “We want it to be fair for all students, which is why we started making the permits available for only a semester about seven years ago.”
For seniors who have parking permits this fall, they seem to feel the process is fair.
“It’s fine. The biggest problem is getting out of here after school because of the traffic,” said senior Luke Schultz.
Seniors and other students do still have an opportunity to find spots in the lot. After requests are filled for each semester, other students seeking a spot have their request put into a lottery, with a priority given to drivers who live farther from the school. Those chosen in the lottery may purchase a permit for the semester.
Senior Tyler Parse said he was thrilled to get a permit this year and have it for the full school year after being one of the lottery winners.
“It’s great; I took the bus the last three years,” he said. “It’s much better to drive.”
Senior George Levy of Clarendon Hills, another parking permit lottery winner, has taken over a role this fall that previously was partially filled by his parents.
“My parents drove me to school in the morning, and I took the bus home,” he said. “My sister is a freshman, so I drive to school now and bring her and then take her home after school, too. I like this much better, and my parents don’t have to be inconvenienced by driving me.”
For students without a permit, there are options of finding a place on the street or paying to park someplace else.
Paul Belluomini keeps 20 parking spaces for Central students at his Belluomini’s Sports Bar & Grill across the street, and charges $700 per semester.
“We usually fill the spaces up, although we’re not full now; I’m not sure why,” Belluomini said Sept. 3. “People come in and ask about parking fairly often. We get a lot of Oak Brook kids.”
As for street parking nearby Central, restrictions prohibiting parking from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. or limiting parking to two hours during the day don’t make those areas useful for students.
James Todd, a Central junior from Clarendon Hills who drives to school about twice a week, said he parks at a friend’s home a couple of blocks away.
“It’s a little bit of a walk, but it beats taking the bus all the time,” he said.