Campus parking to change drastically, Mills says

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    Parking in the center of campus will be gone after May 23, but several new parking lots on the outer parts of campus will offer alternatives, Don Mills, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, said Tuesday at a town hall meeting.Mills said TCU has been working with a parking consultant group, Walker Parking Consultants, to make changes to TCU’s traffic patterns. Because of the construction of four residence halls and the new student union building, parking in the area of the quad, including the visitor and 30-minute lots, Colby Hall and Moncrief Hall will all be gone, he said.

    Walker Parking Consultants has recommended that TCU not invest in a parking garage at this time, Mills said, because a garage is too expensive and would also be a permanent building on campus. TCU will have a parking garage eventually, he said.

    “With the amount of construction that will be going on at TCU over the next few years, we don’t know what the patterns of traffic around campus will be,” Mills said. “We have quite a bit of space that could be used for surface parking lots for the time being.”

    One of the biggest changes being made is to faculty parking, where faculty and staff members pay to reserve an individual space each year, Mills said. This summer that will change.

    The faculty and staff parking lots will be reserved lots surrounded by fences with gates that could only be opened with a remote control or card-swipe device, he said, which would ensure that each faculty member would have a space to park, even if it wouldn’t be the same space every day.

    A faculty or staff member now has one space that is reserved for his or her use, he said, which may or may not be available when an employee needs to park. If the space is full, then the alternative is to park illegally.

    Mary Kincannon, associate registrar, said the majority of faculty and staff would be in favor of the plan because they need a place to park.

    With the new plan, the parking lot behind the Tom Brown-Pete Wright Residential Community will be converted to a visitor parking lot, Mills said, and the Daniel-Meyer parking lot will become reserved. The Worth Hills area will have a few main campus parking lots, he said.

    A total of 900 new parking spaces have been added in the last year or will be added this year, Mills said. The amount does not include the 680 spots in the Grandmarc parking garage, he said. The students who will park there would probably have been commuters otherwise, so there will be more space in commuter lots, Mills said.

    Since parking will be concentrated in the outer parts of campus, the times shuttles run will change and more will be added, Mills said.

    Safety is very important, said Lt. Ramiro Abad of the TCU Police, and since parking is moving from the interior of campus to the exterior, different safety measures will be considered. More lots will be surrounded by fences, and shuttles will run more frequently in an attempt to keep parking lots safe, Abad said.