Within walking distance of UAA, there can be found 160 empty parking spaces. Last week the university opened up the Piper Parking Lot just across 36th Street on Piper Street.
The new parking lot is located on what is now being called “South Campus.” This is where construction has just begun on the new Health Services building, slated to open next year.
Chris Mizelle, director of facilities maintenance and operations, said the parking lot has not seen many takers in its first week of being open.
“I kind of think it hasn’t caught on yet. We’re running the shuttle over there but we’re waiting to see what’ll happen,” said Mizelle.
Shuttle services stop at the Piper Lot every 15 to 20 minutes and will continue its usual route to the Rasmussen Hall and Student Union Bookstore. Currently, the shuttle runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Mizelle said the parking lot was built because the campus lost a lot of spaces on the Administration and Arts side due to construction on the Integrated Sciences Building. The Piper Lot was built to accommodate the overflow from that reduction. Besides offering parking aid for students, the new lot can also cater to campus visitors and employees of the nearby Providence hospital administration building.
Doug Dombroski, director of Parking Services, said the Piper Lot was only the beginning of a long list of changes students can expect to see on campus. “Completion of the Health Sciences building is expected for May or June, give or take and it will open in the fall of next year,” said Dombroski. “The parking garage will have approximately 450 spaces to it.”
The Health Sciences building will be right next to the Piper Lot.
“The lot is in a good location for special event parking, especially for events at the Wendy [Williamson Auditorium],” said Domborski who is optimistic that once students hear more about the new parking lot, they will be more apt to use it.
UAA business management major, Jake Hartman said he thinks it’s good the campus is trying to open up more parking, but that 160 spots won’t really make an impact on the entire parking problem.
Hartman said he thinks the usefulness of the shuttle is negated because of how close the bookstore and Rasmussen Hall is to the Piper lot.
“The time it takes to walk from the bookstore is probably the time it takes to wait for the shuttle,” said Hartman. “Either you walk in the cold or you stand in the cold.”
Parking permits are required at the new lot, and Pay-and-Park services are not currently offered.