Nov. 2, 2000
Vol. 20 No. 4

current issue
archive / search

    University announces its prices to park in new structure

    By Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    The University Parking Office has announced rates for the University’s new parking structure, which will open Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2001. The four-story facility has five parking levels, including 1,068 spaces––a net-gain of more than 500 parking spaces on campus.

    The University’s new parking structure at 55th Street and Ellis Avenue, will open in January 2001. Permit parking in the structure will cost $65 per month, and visitor parking will cost $1 per hour for the first four hours and then $2 per hour until 4 p.m.
    The permit-parking rate in the new structure is $65 a month––$15 less than the $80-a-month rate for the University Hospitals garages.

    “We will have spaces to accommodate our permit holders being moved out of Stagg when it is closed on January 2, as well as those 400 or so drivers on our waiting list for the new parking structure,” said Meredith Mack, Director of Facilities Services. After the parking structure opens, construction will begin on the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center. This construction will not cause any reduction in street parking, Mack added.

    Eighty spaces in the new building will be designated visitor parking and will cost $1 per hour for the first four hours and then $2 per hour until 4 p.m. Parking in the new structure at 55th Street and Ellis Avenue will be free from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. and on weekends and holidays.

    “The $23 million facility will substantially alleviate the parking crunch on the North campus and will greatly increase the amount of parking available for University visitors,” said Hank Webber, Vice President of Community Affairs.

    Visitor parking spaces in the new parking structure, along with additional visitor spaces in the Lexington Lot, will meet a much-needed demand, said Webber, noting that in the past such visitors as prospective students and alumni have struggled to find parking during the day.

    Construction crews continue to work on the new parking structure located at 55th Street and Ellis Avenue.
    “Our visitors are often on a tight time schedule. Not being able to find parking and worry-ing about missing a tour or being late for an interview is not a good way to start a visit,” said Michael Behnke, Vice President and Dean of College Enrollment, adding that the number of prospective students visiting in the summer has nearly doubled. “This improvement will reduce anxiety that visitors experience over parking and improve their overall visit.”

    When the Alumni Association schedules reunions, staff members also warn alumni about the lack of parking, while encouraging them to come to campus, said Christine Love, Executive Director of the Alumni Association. “It’s going to be wonderful to be able to accommodate alumni next June,” said Love.

    In addition to alleviating parking constraints, the new structure’s location should shift vehicular traffic from the center of campus to 55th Street, according to Steve Beaudoin, Director of Safety and Parking Services. Fewer visitors will need to scout for street parking or metered spots on Ellis Avenue, and permit holders will drive to one location instead of several lots around the campus, added Beaudoin.

    Drivers will access the parking structure at Ellis Avenue and Greenwood Avenue, which now runs two ways from 55th Street to the southern edge of the parking structure. Ellis Avenue has been widened to add turn lanes for cars entering and exiting the structure, which will allow through traffic to flow easily, Beaudoin said.

    “We’ve also installed hands-free technology that allows traffic to flow smoothly. When drivers enter the structure an electronic eye will scan a pass on their windshield, similar to the I-Pass system used by the Illinois Department of Transportation,” he said.

    For short-term parking, a machine will dispense time-encoded tickets to visitors, who will pay for their parking at a walk-up machine inside the structure. Visitors will then feed their receipt to a machine to exit.

    Mack said the parking structure will be monitored by the University Police and will include such safety features as campus phones, bright, even lighting, a clear, glass-encased elevator and stairwells that will be visible from the street.

    Plans are in progress to house a bowling alley and cafÈ, as well as several University offices, including the Parking Office, in the first floor of the structure.

    The University also is building two additional parking lots––a free park-n-ride lot with 100 spaces at Stony Island Avenue and 60th Street for commuters who ride Metra trains and an 86-space lot at Dorchester Avenue and 60th Street to accommodate staff at the University Press Building.

    Employees may sign up at the Parking Office for a payroll deduction that allows them to pay for their permits with pre-taxable income. To obtain more information about this program and the new University parking structure, drivers may call the Parking Office at (773) 702-8969.