The early-morning parking scramble may subside come February with the current expansion of the Pavia Parking Garage.
Nestled within the yellow parking zone, the garage will now offer an additional 307 parking spaces inside two new floors designed to better accommodate the approximately 2,500 students who purchased yellow-zone parking permits for the designated area.
Last fall, the department of parking and transportation received construction permits from the City of Coral Gables and began to prepare for the project, which comes with an estimated $8,000 to $12,000 price tag per parking space.
The garage expansion is an early response to parking spaces that are expected to be lost to the Student Activities Center, slated for a 2013 completion.
“The university is constantly improving our facility, and we may be losing spots as we go forward,” said Richard Sobaram, the director of parking and transportation. “But our primary goal is that when and if those things go on board, we are a step ahead of the game.”
On Jan. 11, the department notified university faculty, staff and students of regulations being implemented throughout the construction period through an email.
“Most of you are aware that we are adding two floors to the Pavia Garage, which will provide an additional 307 parking spaces,” the department said. “Construction is ongoing and the garage is not currently available. We anticipate opening the garage by early February.”
The email also noted the opening of a temporary parking space now used as a replacement for the garage: the pink zone.
Mostly in the grass, the zone is expected to house displaced yellow-zone permit holders in anticipation of Pavia’s reopening. Signs, officers, and parking attendants are being used to direct traffic and assist drivers into the new zone.
“On Tuesday, everybody with a yellow-zone parking spot was able to find a spot,” Sobaram said. “The far end of Serpentine is probably where they found a parking space in their zone.”
However, not all students feel comfortable with the adjustments.
“Before construction, parking was much more convenient and easier,” said Paul Bousquet, a junior in the school of business and a yellow-zone permit holder. “The new construction will make it easier, but it is absurd that the school wasn’t transparent with us, and that I have to pay an exorbitant rate for something I was promised and am not getting in return.”
Student Government Present Brandon Mitchell, on the other hand, believes the changes will benefit campus.
“If you look at the biggest complaint students have had over the years, it’s parking,” he said. “This will go a long way toward alleviating some of those concerns by adding a considerable amount of parking spots. This is a great step forward for the university.”
Ashley Taggart, SG vice president and yellow-zone parking permit holder, believes the addition to the Pavia “is long overdue.”
The original parking spaces inside Pavia Garage are scheduled to open in early February, while the two new levels may open about one month after.