Impolite Practices Put MIHS Parking in Jeopardy

Kate Grove and Honor Warburg

Mercer Island City Council has received complaints from homeowners alleging rampant littering and disturbance from students parking on 88th Ave SE, more commonly known as “Strip.”

MIHS lacks parking for all students: typically only seniors receive a parking permit for either “C-lot” or the further Northwood lot. Given this massive shortage of parking for sophomores and juniors, hundreds attempt to squeeze onto Strip each morning. 

The problem arises as the homeowners of the residences along “Strip” voice issues with the often rowdy flock of students. Additionally, they claim that the shared spaces have been disrespected by students leaving trash, hosting lunch barbecues and blasting music midday. 

“[Homeowners have] taken it to the city, because obviously that’s city property, not school property. So the city reached out to me to help get the word out to the students that this is something we need to address,” Director of Maintenance and Operations for Mercer Island School District Tony Kuhn said. 

To continue parking on Strip, Kuhn advises students to become more mindful of what they leave behind each day and take responsibility for removing their trash. 

“We need to be good stewards and be very respectful of the neighborhood,” Kuhn said. “It’s a privilege to park there and we need to respect that privilege because we could lose that privilege if we can’t take care of it.”

Kuhn also cautions students against disregarding these complaints.

“If we don’t take care of this, we’re gonna lose it. And if we do lose it, everyone loses because we don’t have additional parking. So if we lose those 100 and some spaces throughout that area, where do those students park?” Kuhn said. 

Given the current lack of parking, the loss of Strip would be detrimental to students’ ability to drive to school. Given MIHS’ open campus policy, many leave for lunch or an off period or go directly to a sports practice after school, optionality not always offered by the city-run bus system. 

“It’s not just the strip. Anytime we’re parking out in the neighborhoods it’s important to be a good neighbor” Kuhn said.