BEDFORD — After an unprecedented number of Bedford High School students sought parking permits for the new school year, the town manager said officials will review the permitting process.
Between the school and town, more than 500 parking permits were issued on-campus and off-campus for the new school year. Each permit costs $125.
On Aug. 14, more than 150 students or their parents lined up at town hall to receive their town parking permits, some of them arriving at 4:40 a.m., according to Tammy Penny, finance director.
“To be sold out in August, clearly something has changed in the number of cars that students have, or there are way more students that are 16 in the current classes,” Town Manager Rick Sawyer said.
In the past, the town parking lots were not fully reserved until the end of October or November, he said. There is now a waiting list, with 15 additional students seeking parking spaces.
Seniors are provided parking spots first. Rising juniors are then permitted to enter a parking lottery for the remaining spots on campus. Once all of the 325 parking spots at the high school are reserved, the names of the remaining students are transferred to the town for the nearby town-owned parking lots.
Penny said there are a total of 186 town-owned parking spaces for high school students. Of those, 171 spots were reserved for high school students who took part in a lottery. In less than two hours on Aug. 14, all of the parking permits were issued, including the 15 open spots for non-lottery participants.
Sawyer said that students who took part in the lottery did not need to line up early because those town spots were already reserved for them. The only reason to line up early was if a student failed to enter their name in the lottery, or hoped to obtain a spot in a preferred parking lot, which for many students is Riley Field on Nashua Road, Sawyer said.
“This is the first time it has happened in the three years that we have been doing this,” Sawyer said. “I am not sure what brought it on.”
The town lots also include Sportsman Field parking lot on Nashua Road and the parking lot at the town pool and tennis court area on County Road.
“We will review the process after school starts with the superintendent and the high school principal, and Tammy (Penny) and her staff, to see how we can do things differently going forward,” Sawyer said.