Students using the parking lots around the UAA/APU Consortium Library now have the benefit of 14 more spaces and a sidewalk connecting the library and the ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building.
Contract Administrator Eric Lopez said the spaces were made available because of the redesign of the lot.
Now there are shorter lanes with more drive space as opposed to long lanes with one way in or out.
He said the new design was spurred by safety concerns that students were walking across the lot diagonally when compared with how cars previously parked. Now, he said students who choose to walk through the parking lot will walk perpendicular to the back side of cars, decreasing the likelihood of accidents.
Lopez said the new design also placed handicapped parking spaces directly at the level landing of the sidewalk, meaning those using the spaces would never have to commute through the parking lot.
He said the design also reduced the amount of drainable asphalt surface, which is asphalt that, when water or melted snow pools on it, goes into storm drains.
At this university the storm drains dump into Chester Creek. Lopez said reducing the amount of drainage areas reduces pollution and the possibility of Chester Creek overflowing.
Instead, he said the new design uses green space — space that allows water to soak into the ground rather than becoming runoff water.
However, the project is not complete.
Lopez said there is still groundskeeping work to be done, and there will be more lamp posts added to the parking lot.
Lopez said the project initially caused the removal of about 15 diseased or damaged Birch trees. There is a plan to plant about 22-25 mature trees on UAA property, but a location has not been decided.
This university has a No Net Loss policy, unofficially setting the standard to replace any demolished trees during construction on UA land.
He said the project took about two months to complete, closing about 100 spaces. The lengthy construction time was because of severe rain this summer.
Lopez did not want to guess how much money the project totaled because it’s still incomplete, but said he’d offer the figure after the project is done.