Construction limits student parking
Mike Seamon, associate vice president for campus safety, said while the University’s growth and expansion is good news, “one of the challenges of this growth is the stress that is put on various roadways and parking lots surrounding the new construction.”
“We are very sensitive and are aware that the construction around campus, and particularly on the east side, is causing some issues for people in regards to traffic and parking,” he said.
In D2, there are now 450 student spots in the North and Middle sections. In the nearby Library Lot and the Middle and South sections of D2, there are 900 faculty/staff spaces.The University constructed a new parking lot near Bulla Road and North Twyckenham Drive to compensate for reallocated student spaces in the three D2 lots, and with the additional Bulla lot spaces, Seamon said the ratio of faculty/staff to student spaces is “about the same as it was before the construction.”
The current project is a utility construction process that is part of the infrastructure required to serve the new buildings, Seamon said. Work began in the summer and is scheduled to be completed on the east part of campus by the end of the fall.
“Upon completion of the utility project, each of the lots along the east side of campus will see a slight increase in parking spaces,” Seamon said. “In the short term, however, over the course of the next few months as the utility project continues to unfold, some spaces will be lost on a temporary basis until the project is concluded.
“Once the [utility] project is finished in late fall, the spaces will return in the respective areas. At that time, we anticipate the parking set-up to remain in place for the foreseeable future.”
An email from the parking offices sent to all students this summer said the east campus construction is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2016.
Seniors and juniors living in North and Mod Quad residence halls are “the priority” for the 450 D2 student spots, Seamon said, and an email from parking services said they can purchase passes specifically for those lots. Sophomores and all other students living on campus can park in the Bulla Lot or D6 on the west side of campus.
Although the Bulla lot is farther east than D2, some students have found the situation better than they expected after reading the email announcement this summer.
Junior Jessica Zic, of Breen-Phillips Hall, said the Bulla lot path is relatively accessible.
“The walk from the new Bulla lot to [Breen-Phillips] was long, but it really didn’t feel that much longer than the walk from a far parking spot in the old D2 lot,” she said.
Kim Sammons, another Breen-Phillips junior, said the Bulla lot is “a lot bigger than I expected.”
“It isn’t as bad of a walk in the warm weather, but I know once it gets cold there could be a bigger issue,” she said. “[All of the lots] are a trek back to BP, but I’ve never felt unsafe. They could be better lit between the parking lots and Mod Quad.
“It’s a straight shot from the [Bulla] parking lot through Mod Quad, so it isn’t too bad when there’s not snow.”
Seamon said safety was a top priority when constructing the Bulla lot and its pedestrian pathways, so the lots and walkways are equipped with closed circuit television cameras, lighting and Blue Light emergency call boxes. NDSP is “routinely patrolling the lot,” he said, and O’SNAP and Safewalk will also provide services to the area. The area was fenced and cleared to enhance safety, he said.
A free shuttle will operate weekdays from 7 to 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. with stops at the Bulla lot, Hesburgh Library, East Gate and the Main Building. Another shuttle will operate on the same hours between the C1 parking lot near the track and field complex and Main Circle, with stops at Eddy Street and Holy Cross Drive near Legends.
The second shuttle anticipates more parking realignment on the south side of campus due to more construction, according to the email from the parking offices.
Some students are interested in the shuttle options, but said the hours are inconvenient or that they end too early for the service to be helpful in the dark.
“I’ve never seen the shuttle working, so I think they could advertise that better,” Sammons said.
The current setup is based on recommendations from a 14-member committee made up of undergraduate and graduate student representatives, Faculty Senate and Staff Advisory Council members and staff from relevant departments. Seamon said Lauren Vidal, student body president, and Andrew Carmona, director of University Affairs for student government, represented the undergraduate student body on the committee. The group “placed a premium on preserving the pedestrian nature of the Notre Dame campus and ensuring convenience and safety,” the parking services email said.