School gears up for Super Bowl traffic

Dhara Yu and Emma van der Veen

A hired security officer examines a student's parking permit. The Paly administration has upped security measures in light of Super Bowl 50 traffic.
A hired security officer examines a student’s parking permit in the Embarcadero parking lot of Palo Alto High School. The Paly administration has upped security measures in light of Super Bowl 50 traffic. Photo by Cooper Lou.

In anticipation of increased traffic due to Super Bowl 50 this Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, local law enforcement and the Palo Alto High School administration are taking additional measures to ensure public safety.

According to Lt. Zachary Perron of the Palo Alto Police Department, law enforcement has extended police officers’ hours and is working in conjunction with other agencies to deal with the influx of visitors.

“We’ve moved all field personnel to 12-hour shifts this week, as opposed to their normal 11-hour shifts,” Perron said. “They’ll be supplemented by our SWAT team personnel and downtown officers. Other personnel will be on standby if needed, but at this point, we don’t anticipate any problems.”

Throughout this week, the Paly parking lots are being monitored due to predicted congestion, as the Denver Broncos, one of the teams competing in the Super Bowl, are practicing at Stanford University. According to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson, the school has anticipated increased traffic around the Palo Alto area and possible attempts to gain access to parking space in the Paly and Palo Alto Unified School District office parking lots.

“Because the Denver Broncos are practicing at Stanford, there’s probably going to be a lot of people here,” Berkson said.

To combat this, the PAUSD has hired security personnel to monitor cars entering parking lots from Monday through Friday, according to Berkson.

“To prevent them [non-Paly students, faculty and visitors] from parking in our lots and prevent riff raff, hopefully, from coming through, the district has hired security at all the entrances to all the lots,” Berkson said. “They will be here just for the week, through Friday. They are making sure people have parking permits.”

According to Berkson, the security’s presence should not affect students, staff or parents dropping off or picking up students.

“I’m hoping that they [security personnel] use enough common sense [to tell] that between 7:45 [a.m.] to 8:15 [a.m.] that that’s probably people dropping off their kids,” Berkson said. “If someone drives in wearing a Broncos beanie and jersey, those are the people that are probably not dropping off their kids. This should not affect students.”

Despite the effort to avoid traffic, these measures have made entrance into the Paly parking lots much more time-consuming, according to senior Kelly Branson.

“There’s more traffic,” Branson said. “Today there was a ton of traffic because we [the cars] couldn’t get in [to the lots] as fast, so I was 15 minutes late to class.”