Many Tech students were surprised to find the library parking lot fenced off when they arrived on campus this semester. The lot has been closed to prepare for the construction of the Clough Learning Center, which will replace the parking lot.
For students who wish to park near the library, they are left with the option of parking in the limited spaces along the Research Drive behind the library.
They can also choose to park in lots slightly farther away from the library, such as the parking lot under the Klaus Advanced Computing Building or at the Student Center Parking Deck.
In the near future, parking along Research Drive may also not be an option for student commuting to Tech with a car. Staring in October, renovations on the Hinman Research Building will most likely cause the loop to be closed to everything but construction traffic.
This would remove additional parking spaces from the area surrounding the library, limit handicap access and push Stingerette pick ups farther from the library. This has the potential to present an unsafe situation.
“It’s a security issue,” said Bob Fox, Associate Director for Public and Administrative Services of the Library, about the concerns raised over the safety of student leaving the library late at night.
“Most [library] traffic is between 10pm and 2am … so it is important to have accessible transportation for students to feel that they are safe coming and going from the library no matter what hour.”
One way Parking has responded to concerns of late night travel to and from the library is by extending the Stingerette’s operating hours from 2am until 7am. The last calls to request a Stingerette pickup will be accepted at 6:30am.
“The Stingerette may be a less than perfect solution, since you have to call it and then wait possibly a long time for its arrival, but it is a start,” Fox said.
The Stingerette is a shuttle service that runs to provide safe transportation to Tech students, faculty and staff if they require a ride after-hours.
It is intended to be only used when no other suitable transportation is available. It travels to residences, academic buildings and Tech facilities that are in the campus boundaries.
In the long run though, Parking is considering rerouting the Stinger routes closer to the library and including underground parking in the plans for the new Clough Learning Center to allow more transportation opportunities to the library.
However, plans have not yet been finalized for the Clough Learning Center, and depending on concerns regarding cost and logistics, a parking solution may be ultimately unavailable to students who wish to keep their cars close to the library.
“A consultant has been hired to conduct a study to determine a master plan for all of parking on campus… but thus far, no plans are certain,” said David Santa Ana, interim Director of Parking.
The campus parking master plan also includes finding solutions to replace the O’Keefe parking lot that was lost for the construction of the new softball stadium.
The O’Keefe lot had potentially been the location for a new parking deck, so parking plans to support that area in the future are still uncertain.
While there currently is sufficient capacity for parking on campus, there is a lack of convenient parking for most students. This is a problem Parking will be addressing in the future.
Transportation is emphasizing the use of alternative transportation for both on campus and to campus travel.
“The campus cannot support everyone having their own [cars], that’s a given … While we do have capacity, alternative transportation is something that needs to be on the radar screen of all students, as well,” Santa Ana said.
While the parking situation is undergoing its current set of changes, students will have to rely on the multiple forms of campus transportation.