Parking woes overflow from Lakewood High School lot to surrounding neighborhood

Lakewood High School parking passes oversold

LAKEWOOD – Lakewood City Council members will meet with the Jefferson County Public School Board at 7 p.m. on Monday to discuss parking and circulation around Lakewood High School.

Currently, LHS has 404 parking spaces. The high school was developed in the 1950s and was meant to serve approximately 900 students. Enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year is 2,123 students, with 1,204 being “choice-in” students from outside the LHS attendance area.

"They used to walk to school, they were bused or carpooled with other students. Those kinds of things," Tim Reed told Denver7, referring to things that happened more often, back when LHS was first built.

Reed is the Executive Director of Facilities and Construction Management at Jefferson County Public Schools.

He explained the district wants to move student drivers off the streets and back onto campus to alleviate congestion.

"What we want to try to do is re-stripe the lots, see how many spaces we pick up and if that really does alleviate the problem," Reed added.

He anticipated about 100 new spots once the re-striping is completed. Neighbors in the area say they are weary.

"The school district says,'Well, let's get some input.' Well, the input is you guys created the problem," James D'Andrea said. He lives about a block away from LHS.

"This is basically the Lakewood High School Broncos stadium," the longtime neighbor said. "This is 24/7, it looks like a Bronco game here every morning, every afternoon."

He wasn't the only neighbor with concerns.

Kaulin Waldner is also a neighbor and LHS graduate. He's seen the high school growth happen before his eyes.

Now that he's living in the area, he's gained a clearer view of the around-the-clock issues.

"When school's in session, out of session...cars are in the neighborhood and students are buzzin' around," Waldner said.

Residents said there has been little relief. There are signs along some residential blocks that only allow parking for neighbors and their guests.

However, Waldner and others said those signs are ignored, even when police are patrolling.

Reed said the district is aware of these frustrations. In fact, in summer 2017, the city of Lakewood, the school district, and some neighbors formed a task force to address issues.

He said, "Our point was that, not necessarily that there is enough parking. We can always try to put more parking on a site. But it has been the inability to access and to leave the site in a timely fashion."

Not all students have vehicles, and priority is given to high school juniors and seniors.

Inadequate on-campus parking for LHS students and visitors remains a problem.

Parking permits are oversold at approximately 120-percent of available capacity because not all permitted students are parking on-campus at any one time.

An email from the city’s senior transportation engineer explained a recent LHS transportation study. Reed explained the district and the city funded a traffic consultant to review issues the task force found. Possible solutions will be presented at Monday's meeting.

The email said the city of Lakewood and Jefferson County School District staff have been working with neighbors adjacent to LHS to resolve parking, access and circulation issues.

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