Weber State University will address traffic congestion and lack of student parking on the northwest end of Edvalson Drive with a new 85-stall parking lot, set to be complete by fall 2014.
“The university’s No. 1 inquiry is to increase student parking,” said Mark Halverson, director of campus planning and construction.
Despite the growth of student enrollment, parking on campus has remained unchanged since the addition of the expansion lot at the Dee Events Center.
The university seized the opportunity to expand parking when the site between the new public safety building and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Institute of Religion became available.
The new parking lot has been in the planning stage for the past three years, and will be located directly east of the new public safety building.
“Demolition of the existing home on the site should occur shortly after spring graduation,” said Norm Tarbox, vice president for administrative services at WSU.
The approximately 27,600-square-foot site will be a ‘W’ parking lot for students. This will increase ‘W’ parking to 5,100 spaces.
“We are thrilled to be adding another ‘W’ lot on campus,” said Crystal Taylor, WSU Parking Services manager.
There will be a single point of entrance off Edvalson Drive that accesses both this new lot and the LDS Institute lot. According to Tarbox, the location for the entrance will be roughly where the current LDS Institute lot entrance is now.
The new parking lot will solve several immediate needs: eliminating congestion due to driveway accesses on Edvalson Drive, widening and improving accessibility to the LDS Institute parking lot, and providing parking for displaced students and faculty during construction of the new science building.
Halverson estimated that approximately 170 parking stalls in the A2 parking lot will be unavailable while construction of the new building is under way. Construction is anticipated to take two years, beginning in June 2014 and lasting until June 2016.
WSU is primarily a commuter school, and the university recognizes the need for student and faculty parking. However, adding parking lots is not part of the university’s overall goal to become carbon-neutral. The university encourages students and faculty to use mass transit and other modes of transportation to reduce emissions.
Emissions from student and faculty vehicles are classified as Scope 3 emissions, which are defined as other indirect emissions that are a consequence of the activities of the institution, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the institution. This includes university-related air travel, solid waste generation, and student, faculty and staff commuting.
The university has looked into alternative parking solutions, such as the construction of a parking garage.
According to Halverson, in order to expand parking any further, the university would have to eliminate areas currently being used to enrich student activities, such as the outdoor sports fields.
WSU conducted a feasibility review and found that constructing a new parking garage is cost-prohibitive due to the amount of money it would have to charge students and faculty for a parking pass to help offset the cost of a new parking garage.