Feb. 19 marked the beginning of parking space reallocation to prepare for the construction of the East Garage, which is expected to be complete in summer 2012.
Crews will officially break ground on the East Garage on March 1.
Most of the “A” and “B” spaces from Lot 4 will temporarily be lost and relocated to other areas during the construction process.
Lot 3 will be mostly composed of ADA, reserved and “A” spaces.
Lot 8 will absorb the remaining “A” and “B” spaces that were eliminated from Lots 3 and 4. This shift will result in the temporary displacement of approximately 300 commuter spaces.
“While it is unfortunate that such a large portion of Lot 4 will temporarily be lost, it is necessary in order to grow,” Assistant Director of Parking Services, Shelley Deats said.
“Business Auxiliary Services has been in collaboration with the design and construction teams on this project since the beginning phases and has done everything possible to ensure that as much parking as possible is left open to the community for the duration of the project.”
Faculty and students already routinely experience challenges with locating a place to park.
“A lot of the times I park far and take the shuttle,” senior technical communication major Robert Mitchell said. “But sometimes it sucks when you want to leave and you have to wait 15 minutes for the shuttle to get there.”
Junior psychology major Lauren Ortega said “I take the alternative route which is riding the shuttle just because I don’t want to waste so much time finding parking.”
For accounting lecturer Lorie Milam, even finding a disabled parking space seems an impossible feat.
After suffering a broken foot, she purchased a disabled permit but discovered that disabled spaces near the building where she teaches are almost always occupied when she arrives.
While trying to locate a spot, Milam observed what appeared to be an able-bodied student parking in a handicapped space.
“The Parking Division takes [unauthorized] parking in handicap spaces very seriously,” Deats said. “Since spring of 2010 our department has written approximately 70 violations for illegal parking in ADA spaces. This is associated with our highest fine of $250.”
Deats says the parking division has recently added some additional ADA spaces south of the Main Building and once the construction of the North Paseo building is complete, another 11 ADA spaces will be available south of the North Garage.
Writing Program Lecturer Lindsay Ratcliffe has given up parking on campus and now relies on public transportation to commute to and from work.
“One of the big reasons that I have abandoned my car commute is because of the frustration that parking has become,” Ratcliffe said. “I am now a devoted VIA rider.”
Many question why the university doesn’t simply create more lots to alleviate the parking issue altogether. Deats explains that UTSA is located on the recharge zone for the Edwards Underground Aquifer System, so the university is challenged with preserving the area and limited to the amount of hardscape that can be built.
For this reason, the university chose to build a garage to maximize space without creating a large “footprint” that will affect campus.
Constructing the East Garage will reduce the number of available parking spaces on Main Campus; however, once the project is complete, it will ultimately result in 1200 additional slots.
According to Deats, large portions of Lots 10 and 11 are available throughout the day and there are shuttles that run from these lots to various locations.
“We are encouraging everyone to be familiar with the parking changes,” Deats said. “Arrive early and if possible carpool or use shuttle services.”