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Construction causes issues for parking

Nicole Michels | Thursday, February 23, 2012

Construction of the Wellness Center in the D2 South lot has forced students to park further away from their on-campus destinations. Another project planned for the B1 lot this spring will also temporarily restrict parking.

Notre Dame Security Police director Phil Johnson said students still have space to park on the North side of campus, though there is decreased capacity in D2 South.

“With respect to D2 Lot and construction of the Wellness Center, occupancy surveys indicate that there is capacity in the adjacent lots, D2 Middle and D2 North, to accommodate spaces lost in D2 South due to construction,” Johnson said.

But construction began to frustrate students after the semester break.

Senior Colleen Coley said commuting to and from her job off-campus at the Logan Center is problematic due to the lack of parking spaces.

“My conception of a good parking spot is so different than it used to be,” Coley said. “It used to be the first two rows but now, it’s the first two lots.”

Coley said the most convenient lots for her schedule are full when she returns from work on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This forces her to scramble for a spot to make it to class on time, she said.

“The problem is it … is frustrating for people who have nowhere else to go and need to park every day,” Coley said.

Sophomore Dan Smyth said the location for the new Wellness Center is inconvenient for students.

“Since they fenced off half the lot, you can’t drive all the way through any of the close aisles,” Smyth said. “It’s always a gamble when you’re browsing for a spot.”

Doug Marsh, associate vice president and University architect, said another project is scheduled to begin in the B1 lot by the Stadium. Plans to install a new storm sewer system will temporarily affect the number of parking spaces there.

“There is a temporary loss of 100 spaces,” Marsh said. “These spaces will be restored by the third week of March.”

An email sent to the student body on Feb. 12 said the project schedule was modified to minimize impact on faculty and staff parking during the academic year.

Johnson said construction by the Stadium lot will not present significant long-term challenges for students or professors.

“We have opened the visitor’s lot to provide additional spaces for faculty who are displaced from lot B1,” Johnson said. “The impact from the Stadium project should not have a significant impact on students who use [neighboring] lot C1.”

To adapt to these changes, students like sophomore Jack McLaren strategically plan when to search for a spot on campus.

“I’ve noticed since the construction started that it’s harder to find a spot,” McLaren said.  “I just try to time it so I get back when people are leaving, so I get a good spot.”

Senior Ellen Reinke said walking back to campus from the more removed lot next to the Stepan Center creates safety concerns.

“You’re standing out in the middle of Stepan,” Reinke said.  “Sometimes when I’ve come back really late, I‘ve debated calling Safe Walk because it’s a really far way to walk by yourself in the dark.”

Johnson said calling Safe Walk is a wise choice for students returning from the further lots.

“Safety is of paramount importance.  I encourage everyone to make use of Safe Walk, especially if you are walking to or arriving at a perimeter campus parking lot during hours of darkness,” Johnson said.  “A Safe Walk team will walk you to any point on campus.”