Better Parking Incentives Needed

Miramonte must offer cheaper parking incentives for students who commute in hybrid vehicles and to students who carpool, because currently, carpool passes cost more money than regular student passes.  As a school that takes pride in intellectual curiosity, academic success and personal responsibility in its student body, Miramonte should acknowledge the seemingly pervasive issue of environmental degradation and encourage its student body to adopt environmentally appropriate practices within their daily commute. Because students are “tomorrow’s future,” Miramonte must instill a pro-environmental attitude as the means of managing current, as well as imminent, environmental crises.

Credit, our school already does so; recycling bins are scattered around campus to encourage students to reuse our materials. A.P. Environmental Science teacher Barbara Denny sells and distributes reusable canteens to reduce the use of plastic bottled water.  Denny also mediates club meetings for Miramonte’s student- led Environmental Club.  The question we pose to the Miramonte administration is why not institute incentives for students to carpool and drive cars with lower carbon emissions?

In simple terms: cars hurt our environment, no brainer. They produce carbon dioxide, which is a main contributor to global warming and ozone depletion; motor vehicles comprise one fourth of the total CO2 emissions worldwide. In short, cars are harmful to the environment and are proven to be a leading contributor to climate change.

All of us recognize that cars are essential to our lifestyles, especially in suburban areas like Orinda.  So, how does the average Miramonte driver reduce his or her carbon footprint? Simply put, carpooling or driving a hybrid vehicle reduces the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. Miramonte’s parking lots include 60 carpooling spots where students are assigned a designated spot for the entire school year. Carpooling has its perks: the convenience of having a reserved spot, saving gas, and most importantly, doing your small part for a better environment.

Miramonte deserves some credit for providing a small number of incentives to carpool. The administration holds raffles for carpoolers, with each carpooler having the opportunity of winning a gift-card prize.

Similarly, the highly desired senior lot is exclusively designated for carpool drivers.

Yet, despite the clear benefits of carpooling, a carpool pass is more expensive than a normal, non-carpool pass.

Carpool spots cost $50 dollars, significantly more than the normal, $30 student-parking pass.   Currently, approximately two out of every 10 student-drivers carpool; equalizing the prices between carpool and regular parking passes would greatly increase student participation within the carpool system.

Additionally, discounts for parking passes for students who commute in hybrid vehicles would effectively promote reduced carbon emissions by the Miramonte motor pool, especially considering that only 4.6% of
student drivers drive hybrid cars to school.

Overall, although Miramonte’s carpool system remains successful, it can be improved.  By simply offering better financial incentives to carpool and for those who drive hybrid vehicles, Miramonte will implement concrete and positive measures to the carpool system, further establishing the school’s reputation as an environmentally aware institution.

The Editorial Board voted  12-0 in favor