Parking on the University of Florida campus is about to become much more restricted.
Approximately 600 parking spaces will be demolished in November as construction of a new parking garage is scheduled to begin in the northern section of the suburban lot on Gale Lemerand Drive, leaving an urgent need for temporary parking.
The new garage will have approximately 1,900 parking spaces in total when complete, but the net long-term gain will be minimal due to other planned construction projects, said Scott Fox, director of transportation and parking services.
The Commuter Lot garage will not be finished until February 2020. In the meantime, TAPS is exploring some temporary parking options to compensate for the loss of spaces which will be discussed at the next meeting of the Parking and Transportation Committee in the coming weeks. .
“I can’t give you a timeline for any of them yet, but I can tell you that when the northern part of the suburban lot closes in November 2018, I better have other places to go. park, ”he said.
James Humphrey, a UF junior who parked in the suburban lot this summer semester, said the subclasses would suffer the most from the suburban lot closing because it is one rare lots in the center of the campus where their decals allow them. to park.
“I don’t know how it will work. They might have to reroute some bus lines or something just to get people to and from, ”Humphrey said. “I can’t imagine where on campus they would have even put more temporary parking, so I feel like it would have to be even further from the center of campus.”
Erin Patrick, an assistant research professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UF, will lose her usual parking spot in front of the Union Reitz in the spring of 2019, when the engineering lot is due to be demolished to make way for the new data science and information technology center. . She said it’s hard enough to find parking near the center of the campus, and if UF wants to cut that many parking spaces for staff, they have to find a way to replace them quickly.
“It was a bag of mixed blessings,” said Patrick. “I’m excited about the new infrastructure, but worry about getting to class on time to teach. “
The budget for the garage is $ 32.4 million, or about $ 17,900 per space.
Fox said the new garage is needed because of the campus projects and new buildings that have replaced the parking spaces. The Commuter Lot Garage is how TAPS replaces what has been lost, as well as what will be lost in the near future.
The following list illustrates the projected loss of parking based on projects already planned, according to Fox. While not all projects have a start date, the first three have already started or are expected to start within the next year.
- Pony Field Lot – 101 places – June 2018
- Gale Lemerand Promenade North Suburb Lot – 600 – November 2018
- Engineering land (opposite Reitz Union) – 351 – May 2019
- Gale Lemerand Drive South Suburb Lot – 472 – TBD
- Interior road – 128 – To be determined
- Lot Frazier Rogers – 162 – To be determined
The six projects collectively leave an expected loss of approximately 1,800 spaces on campus, including the 600 spaces in the North Suburb Lot. Fox said the new garage would reverse those losses with 1,900 spaces, but not until its completion in 2020.
“If there is anything that we want to convey to the university community, it is that it is happening and we know it and we are preparing for it,” he said. “Your experience during the construction process and once the garage is open is important to us. This is why we are trying to make good decisions now.
Temporary car parks
Fox said TAPS currently has five temporary parking plans, pending approval. The plans range from small car parks of just 100 spaces to much larger car parks of more than 500.
The larger lot proposed would provide 532 spaces at Fifield Field and cost TAPS approximately $ 1.5 million. The smallest lot would be on the east side of 13th Street and offer 105 spaces at a cost of $ 250,000, according to the presentation of Fox.
The following five proposed lots would provide 1,233 temporary parking spaces:
- 13e Rue Est – 105 spaces – $ 250,000
- Norman field – 196 – $ 525,000
- Archer Road Field – 277 – $ 1.2 million
- Fifield Field – 532 – $ 1.5 million
- Flavet Field – 123 – $ 375,000
Fox stressed that none of those plans have yet been approved and that some may not go into effect at all. Others, like the Fifield Field, could be built but with less space than what is currently proposed.
In total, the lots would cost around $ 3.9 million to build. Fox is hoping that a plan for the temporary lots will be solidified before the start of the fall semester.
City and UF agreement limit total number of parking spaces on campus
While the Commuter Lot garage will make up for lost spaces in 2020, it won’t do much to increase the amount of parking available on campus as a whole. Fox said it was because of the Campus development agreement UF produced with the city of Gainesville.
The agreement caps the maximum number of parking spaces UF can have at 25,377. Fox said the agreement was put in place because the roads around UF, such as Archer Road and University Avenue, are not equipped for. manage the traffic created by more parking spaces.
“If we were to build 5,000 additional parking spaces and generate 5,000 additional trips, single occupant vehicle trips in the morning and 5,000 additional trips in the evening, these already failing roads would absolutely choke,” he said. he declares.
Due to the agreement, the supply of parking spaces has remained stagnant over the past 20 years. According to Fox’s presentation, the parking lot in 1998 was the same as in 2018, with a range of 23,000 to 24,000 spaces.
Meanwhile, parking demand continues to reach all-time highs, Fox said.
For the 2016-17 school year, 36,440 automotive decals were issued. That’s about 13,000 more decals than there are actual parking spots on campus.
The current campus development agreement is in effect until 2025 but will be reviewed in 2020. Fox said it is possible that increasing demand will cause the cap to increase, but it is still far too early to make any predictions. .
“Obviously,” he said, “when the parking supply remains essentially stable and the demand continues to rise and we issue more and more parking stickers, it becomes more and more. more difficult to have a satisfactory parking experience. “