Two parking structures to go up this summer

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Looking for parking on campus. Photo credit: Brent Uberty, Daily Utah Chronicle

As the struggle to find a parking spot on campus seems never-ending, students and employees might see a bright spot as Commuter Services plans to build parking structures on top of two surface parking lots. But that means one year with two existing parking lots unavailable and under construction.

While nearly 8,500 people use public transit to get to the U each day, the campus population as a whole is about 43,000, according to Alma Allred, director of Commuter Services. “There’s a certain sector of the campus population that can’t take transit,” Allred said. “It just doesn’t serve their needs. We do have to provide a certain number of parking places.”

More than a year ago, Commuter Services determined that the parking issue was at a critical stage. An architectural firm was hired to identify efficient places to build a parking garage, and about nine months later, came back with recommendations to build two structures: one in the parking lot west of the Sutton Building, and another in the lot in the business loop near the Huntsman Center and Milton Bennion Hall. Several variables go into planning. For example, a parking structure cannot be built over an underground aqueduct or high-pressure waterlines.There are currently 331 parking places total in those two lots. When the garages are finished, about 1,200 parking spaces will be available. Allred says construction will likely begin in mid-July and will take from 12-16 months to complete.

From an article by Anne Plummer in the Daily Utah Chronicle published Feb. 26, 2013. Read the complete article here.

13 Responses to Two parking structures to go up this summer

  • Joyce Ablorde says:

    That’s only 869 more than what we have already right? We need alot more than that if we have 43,000 employees and students, then not to mention patients and visitors. Instead of building more buildings build parking.

  • Levi Thatcher says:

    How about we work on the demand side of the problem instead? Raise parking permit fees and partner with UTA to expand routes near campus. Extra parking will only increase traffic congestion and worsen pollution (as well as the accompanying inversions, illnesses, and climate change which result). Think like an economist, not like the Utah legislature).

  • Linda says:

    What about more parking for the Health Sciences Center?

  • Paul Sanders says:

    UTA recently cut many express routes to the U from the utah county with the implementation of Front Runner South. This affected approximately 200 people who regularly used that route. Most of those people now drive, increasing demand on the limited parking space on campus. Despite petitions and comments to prevent the cut of that route UTA has a deaf ear. The U has provided a shuttle to campus in the morning and are to be commended for that, but until it goes both ways most of those people will continue to drive.

  • A.Hansen says:

    I think more people would take transit if UTA could make it less of a hassle. Transit more than triples my commute time. A few more parking spaces doesn’t seem likely to resolve commuter troubles at the U.

  • Ed McConkie says:

    If sorely needed transportation changes and commuting innovations don’t happen at the University of Utah, where do we expect them to happen in Utah? The U has an obligation to lead on this issue. Our best chance for genuine and practical long term solutions will likely stem from institutions of higher education, not the massive entities that profit from the status quo.

  • Valoree Dowell says:

    Here’s an idea: raise the gas tax and dedicate the revenue exclusively to more carriages (ie buses, trax and train cars) for the existing (well-planned and executed) infrastructure. Once wait times are 15 mins or less, there will be ample incentive for many to take public transportation. I live three miles from the U, there is a perfect bus route, I have a bus pass. One problem, the bus leaves every two hours. I work like most, till 5pm, and the return schedule leaves the U at 4:30p and 6:30p. That’s just dumb.

  • Brandon G. says:

    It won’t solve every issue for every employee at the U, BUT, there are a lot of jobs that can be virtualized… as in: work from home. My dept. recently started allowing us to do so a few days/week; that effort should be extended campus-wide and the days increased as much as realistically possible.

    Another major problem is the complete lack of decent, affordable housing for employees near campus. We all live in places 30-60min+ from campus for several reason but not least of which is: AFFORDABLE NICE HOUSING.

    We need to fix our communities to enable us to drive less. A big part of that includes rezoning our communities more central to our lives. That’s going to be very hard and take a very long time and it’s not only the U’s job to do that, of course. But if they don’t start figuring out how to do that, who will?

  • Sebastian Hoch says:

    I really think this sends the wrong message. More parking will ultimately lead to more people driving to the U. The money would be spend more wisely by introducing and paying for reliable rapid bus links to the UTA Intermodal Hub for people using the Front Runner (i.e. Paul), and people willing to use faster public transportation (i.e. A.Hansen). What a disappointment!

  • Sheryl McCallister says:

    There are a LOT of different pieces of this issue that the University needs to work on—parking lots are almost the smallest part of the solution! The #1 piece is the “crunch timing” of the demand for parking spaces on campus, between 9 am and 1 pm–this is NOT an all day problem in any way. So then why are the preponderance of on campus classes over before 2 pm? It’s not because students (our theoretical customers) prefer it–this is a commuter campus, and MOST of the students my office works with would be very pleased if there were better options for taking core GE, science and engineering classes later in the day or in the evening. We have an extremely expensive campus, real estate wise, and its being RADICALLY underutilized for the majority of the day! Parking is just one aspect of this “waste” of real estate; buildings have to be heated, etc., whether there are classes being taught in them or not. For a campus with such “public profile interest” in sustainability, we certainly do a very, very poor job of making good/energy efficient use of our space. The President’s office needs to begin working with the faculty to make better use of all the campus buildings, but especially the classroom buildings, over a much broader span of the day. Shifting a significant part of the “parking” demand by teaching at least half of all classes that are now taught before noon, to after noon would have a very real impact on this perpetual problem. There should also be significant consideration to time shifting campus commuter traffic by limiting to a bare minimum the number of classes that put commuting students ‘in traffic’ during the morning and evening rush hours. Much (maybe most) of the pollution that the university community as a whole contributes to the “inversion” problems we experience every winter is due to idling, both around parking lots looking for a space and down Foothill/13th east/the freeways at 5-10 miles a hour. Shopping centers and malls are open until at least 8 or 9 pm, and many individual big bog stores until 10 pm, all over this valley, trying to make the most efficient use of their very expensive space–but they mostly don’t open until 9 or even 10! Why isn’t this the case on campus? If the preponderance of ‘morning’ classes started 9:30-10 am, rather than 7:30-9 am, and at least half ended closer to 9 pm, than 2 pm? Traffic patterns would be significantly changed, parking problems would be measurably eased and lots would better utilized. With a shift in teaching times, many support departments could stop functioning on an “8-5” basis,; that could begin to allow many staff members to work a more flexible time frame, with some people working 5a-2p and others working 12p-9p; again, more effectively using space and resources…..I told you at beginning: parking lots are just about the smallest part of what the University needs to be working on.

  • Lauren says:

    To the people suggesting raising permit prices or otherwise making it more difficult to commute, maybe you should try living where the only option is to drive your own car? It is ridiculous enough to have to pay almost $300 a year to PARK at one’s place of employment. There are no UTA services within 10 miles of my house and I am 40 miles from the U. I would love to take public transit if it were a viable option.

  • Janice says:

    I put this in the commuter survey that was done some months ago, and we are still talking about it – The U is one of the area’s largest employers – surely they could work with UTA to adjust some bus route schedules for their employees. I, like Valerie, live fairly close to campus and on a bus route. Due to the schedules, it would take me about 1 hour to go the 4.5 miles, plus I would have to change from the bus to Trax to get even a little close. There is another route, but the schedule doesn’t coordinate with my work schedule. Our department is now beginning to utilize remote work, and will expand if it works well. Many jobs cannot be done remotely, or may be too difficult to do that way. I agree with parts of all of the above – lots of good opinions and ideas, if someone will listen. so where do we park while the new structures are being built? Keep shoving us further west until we are parking downtown? Please consider some of these ideas.

  • Jessica says:

    Adding parking structures is only increasing the problem. Please please work with UTA to coordinate more buses, better routes and times. Make SLC a public transportation city…not a congested one. Look at other cities like San Francisco, Boston and New York. No one drives there because parking is such a pain! If you feed them, they’ll only want more. By restricting parking, you’re promoting public transportation…and the only hurdle with that is making public transportation easier! The U needs to really step up their negotiations with UTA. And UTA needs to start listening to our needs.

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