New parking structure to add 500 spacesBy Jennifer Leovy
Construction near the Joseph Regenstein Library will lead to a new north-campus quadrangle, but in the meantime, tighter parking will affect that area of campus.
According to Meredith Mack, Director of Facilities Services, the University is developing short-term parking options to supplement spaces lost during the construction period. In the long term, however, a new parking structure will provide a significant increase in available campus parking.
When the residence halls are complete, a net loss of 25 parking spaces around the library will occur. However, the new 1,068-space parking structure, which will open next winter, will provide a net gain of 500 parking spaces in the area.
Five hundred additional permit spaces in this area of campus will be a reality in less than a year, said Hank Webber, Vice President of Community Affairs, who will send a letter to all employees to update them on parking in the area. We know the new garage wont solve the problem of limited parking in Hyde Park, but we believe adding 500 parking spaces for our employees will only help. The greatest demand for parking is in this location, which is why we are meeting that demand.
Facilities Services is in the process of constructing a temporary, free parking lot at the southwest corner of 55th Street and Ellis Avenue. The new lot will have 28 spaces.
In addition, another temporary, free lot located off the 5600 block of Maryland Avenue has been completed and contains 24 more spaces. Mack said Pepper Construction will install flexible fencing at 56th Street and University Avenue, which will enable them to move the fencing off the street and allow parking there whenever possible. Further, contractor parking will be on the construction site and not on the street.
According to Mack, the University determined the size of the new parking structure based on studies it commissioned, including analyses of the current number of parking spaces, the length of the Parking Office waiting list, the projected increase in students and expected changes in traffic flow with the addition of new buildings in the Master Plan, such as the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center. Parking prices have yet to be finalized.
The new structure will provide 75 to 80 additional spaces of visitor parking, which when combined with an additional 65 spaces in the Lexington lot, will more than double the Universitys current number of visitor parking spaces. All parking in the new structure will be free after 4 p.m. and on weekends.
In the last few years, the Universitys rush-hour and daily bus service and Midway Shuttle service has increased, and Webber said the University encourages employees to use it.
If you drive to work, we would encourage you to carpool or use public transportation during the next few months, he suggested. Webber noted that the University and the Hospitals continue to operate their bus service and shuttles at a loss in order to alleviate some of the parking strain.
Ultimately, we will have a much more pedestrian-friendly campus because of the location of the new buildings, said Mack. The parking structure and athletics center will shift traffic away from 56th and 57th streets because vehicular traffic will move from 55th Street directly to the parking facility. The new residence halls will decrease the number of students who currently drive to campus.
For more information about the Universitys bus service, call (773) 702-3988 or visit http://www.rh.uchicago.edu/bus; call (773) 702-6262 for information regarding Midway Shuttle service. For updates on campus construction projects, visit http://www.uchicago.edu/docs/mp-site/construction/.