City tree ordinance delays new parking lot construction

    229
    print

    Trees are to blame for a minor delay in construction on the new parking lot located northeast of Smith Entrepreneurs Hall, Harold Leeman, associate director for Major Projects and Facilities Planning, said.

    Initially, the lot was scheduled to be ready early in the spring semester, however, Leeman said the city’s tree replacement rule has slowed down construction. When completed, the parking space will open up around 400 spots for commuters.

    “The city’s rule says, if a tree is taken down during construction it must be replaced by trees of equal size once matured,” he said.  

    Contractors have been in discussion with the City of Fort Worth since November, Leeman said, because they felt some of the trees in the block were already diseased and should not have to be replaced.

    “We have a lot of old trees that really aren’t very good trees that we can take down,” he said. “But, they just haven’t given us permission to do that yet.”

    Once the old trees are removed, Leeman said workers would replace them with trees that are better for parking lots. The tree issue has delayed the project a few weeks, since workers must use caution to not disturb any trees while removing the old homes.

    “It requires our demolition contractor to be very careful,” he said.

    With the demolition moving along, he said he expected the crew to begin building the parking lot sometime in the middle of February.

    In the meantime, students still face a familiar struggle, finding a place to park. However, approximately 20 parking spaces were returned to students following the completion of Brite Divinity School’s new Harrison Building.

    Junior history major Matthew Sizemore, a commuter familiar with the lot, said he was surprised to see the open spaces.

    “I was driving around and I didn’t realize we could park in all these spots, since I figured they would all be reserved like they were,” he said. “It was definitely nice.”  

    While the 20 spots were a pleasant addition, students such as senior film-television-digital media major Calvin Jones said it was still not enough.

    “It is definitely better than nothing,” Jones said. “But with more people applying to TCU, we really need more parking.”

    Located in between Lubbock Avenue and Merida Avenue, Sizemore said the new lot would help alleviate the amount of walking he usually has to do if he cannot find a parking spot near his class.

    “Imagine not having to park in weird places all over campus and having to walk everywhere, or wait for a shuttle,” Sizemore said. “It may not be as close as others, but it’s closer than having to park down by the stadium and walking back up here to Moudy.” 

    As of now, Leeman said he expected to complete the new parking lot by the end of March. Students can also expect 600 more spaces once stadium construction is completed in August, he said.