One of the major complaints on the University of Miami campus is lack of parking spaces. However, this issue may be solved in the near future.
The four parking projects in the process of being approved include a two-floor expansion of the existing Pavia garage and a second garage similar to Pavia that will be built adjacent to the original. Other plans are underway include parking related the new Student Center scheduled to open in fall 2009 and an expanded Serpentine Lot by the BankUnited Center.
With all of these projects in toe, UM parking will get an expansion of more than 1000 spaces.
The two-floor addition to Pavia garage, which is the first phase of the expansion, will not take place until 2007 or 2008.
“Pavia, from the get-go, has always been planned to be a five story garage,” said Chuck McConnell, director of Parking and Transportation. “With these two added floors, it will increase the parking in the garage by a little over 400 spaces.”
Another part of the parking ventures is the construction of a new Serpentine Lot, which is located in front the BankUnited Center. The plan is to replicate the original lot and make a new lot all together that would be a mirror image of the existing lot and would double the number of parking spaces in the Serpentine Lot. This plan is expected to add another 400 or more parking spaces to the campus.
University Village is not included in these particular project agreements, but will also add more parking spaces to the campus. Students who have parking permits for University Village will not be permitted to park in other locations on campus. Up to 300 parking spaces will be opened due to this rule.
The new Student Center, a project being built on the site of the Rathskeller, promises to bring additional parking to the campus as well.
The Student Center offices located in Building 21 will move into the new complex when it is completed. The site of building 21 will then be turned into another garage that mirrors Pavia’s structure.
“With the expansion of Pavia, and the building of phase two, it will equal 1000 more spaces,” said Janet Gavarrete, assistant to the vice president for Campus Planning.
In order for these expansions to be made, amendments to the master plan, known as the UMCAT agreement, have to be approved. This is an agreement between the City of Coral Gables and the university with respect to how much parking is allotted.
“Right now the master plan is in the process of being approved, and we expect it to be approved hopefully by the fall [of 2006],” Gavarrete said.
“After the master plan is approved, then the amendments to the master plan have to be approved,” she said.
The process for the approval for the plans generally takes between six to eight months, depending on the complexity of the projects. Once the university has the approval, then the construction of the projects can begin.
Another set back to the additional parking structures is that construction can only be done during the summer months when there are fewer classes, faculty and students on campus.
“We can only do construction in the summer, because we can’t displace people,” Gavarrete said.
According to McConnell, expanding Pavia has always been a goal.
Students seem to be excited about the new parking expansions on campus, hoping it will reduce the stress of parking shortages.
“I think it’s a good start, because parking right now is ridiculous,” Alejandro Callirgos, sophomore, said.
On the other hand, some students have a different opinion about how the parking problems should be solved.
“No one parks in the [Pavia garage] anyways. It’s always empty,” James Rippel, junior, said. “They should expand the Ponce garage.”
Khris Parker can be contacted at email@example.com