Hough fails to provide adequate student parking
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – The residents of the Bailey Springs neighborhood are fed up with their road being used as an extension of the Hough High School parking lots and drop-off spots.
While Hough High is technically in Cornelius, the Bailey Springs neighborhood right across the street from the school’s main entrance lies mostly in Davidson. Dozens of student cars used to line Bailey Springs Road, where the town posted “No Parking” signs about every 20 feet.
Residents of the Bailey Springs neighborhood have reached out to the Cornelius and Davidson police departments and talked with Hough’s principal.
While it only costs $25 for students to get a parking permit, you must be a senior or junior with good academic standing to be eligible.
The school has 2,100 students, 465 seniors and 340 student parking spots.
“Just as it is at most schools, (we have) more students wanting to drive than we have parking,” said Hough High’s Principal Terri Cockerham. “Not a new problem to high schools.”
While the signs keep students from parking on Bailey Springs, it doesn’t keep parents from dropping off their kids to avoid the long lines at the school’s official unloading zone.
Davidson Police have come out to Bailey Springs during the start and end of school days to help regulate the parking and stopping. They have also contacted Hough’s principal when necessary.
Cornelius Police Chief Bence Hoyle told residents that as long as parents or students weren’t parking on Bailey Springs, then no laws were being broken. As a result, the Cornelius Town Board created an ordinance on Oct. 1 that makes it a ticketed offense to park, stand, or stop at the area.
Holly Smith, with the Bailey Springs home owners association, said Bailey Springs Road had become much more than a convenient location for student parking or drop-offs, claiming that among other inappropriate activities, she saw two students in their car at the no-parking area having sex.
“It’s not something that I would have hoped to see five houses from my house,” Smith said.
To deal with the problem, Bailey Springs has created a parking committee consisting of five residents who take turns putting out cones and monitor the pool parking lot every morning, afternoon and during home football games.
However, Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte conceded, saying there will always be a traffic and parking issue at the school.
“We have to be somewhat sympathetic to the parents that sit in this line,” he said. “They aren’t having fun either. This is one of those imperfect situations where we aren’t going to be able to make everyone happy, but what we don’t want it to do is impede on the neighborhood like it has been.”
The ordinance hasn’t satisfied some residents because they feel if there isn’t an officer to enforce the law, that the signs alone won’t scare away the students.
Hoyle said the department has to set priorities.
“During that time in the morning, is when all of our businesses are open and we are getting a lot of calls that alarms are going off. It’s a matter of do we go address a parking situation or handle these calls,” Hoyle said.
“We’ve got two of the largest schools in the county, all feeding in on a two-lane road. We aren’t going to be able to address all the issues out there during that 20-minute time frame. There’s going to be times when it’s just an issue.”
– Tori Hamby contributed to this article.