Campus adapts to parking issues

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With the addition of the largest freshman class in the University of Indianapolis’  history and the loss of a big parking lot, the university had to create and implement a parking plan to fit the needs and desires of students, faculty, staff and guests.

UIndy has acquired and created alternative parking such as two gravel lots across from the baseball diamonds on National Ave., the old Shelby Bowl parking lot, a gravel lot across from Esch Hall on Hanna Ave. and parallel spots along Windermere behind the residence halls. Parallel parking will be added to the side of Campus Apartments within the next few weeks, and Calvary Christian Church on Keystone also has opened its parking lot for UIndy students, faculty, staff and visitors.

“We needed a remote place for parking because, again, we did not have enough space for parking and so that was the first time we ever partnered with them [Calvary Christian Church],” said Vice President of Student and Campus Affairs and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli. “We are fortunate that they have a lot of parking over there and were happy to share it with us for graduation. When we decided to run a shuttle, I called them and told them our situation, and they said absolutely to allowing us to use their parking again.”

The shuttle runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and makes constant loops from the church lot to the bell tower  in front of Ransburg on campus. Vitangeli said that despite the convenience of the shuttle service, it is under used.

Photo by Emanuel Cela

Photo by Emanuel Cela

“There has never been a time when all the parking has been taken on campus, so there’s always parking on campus, there’s just not always convenient parking. If someone doesn’t see a spot outside right where they want to be, they feel like we don’t have enough parking,” Vitangeli said. “I wish people who can’t find their spot close would take advantage of the shuttle, because it’s extremely convenient, it makes constant loops to the bell tower and the people that are using it have been very complimentary about the drivers, the service and how quick it is.”

Director of  Facility and Space Planning Andrea Newsom’s focus is not only on new development of projects such as the Health Pavilion, other redevelopment and construction on campus, but also to work in conjunction with the Physical Plant and Vitangeli to focus on ways to expand parking options in the long term.

Newsom explained that the current parking situation is efficient, but that they are constantly evaluating parking and looking at what the next steps will be once the Health Pavilion is finished.

“We’re certainly looking to add [parking] for the sake of convenience and access, and what we have now from a numbers standpoint appears to be working. But I recognize that there is always room for improvement. It really is about sufficient access for students, faculty, staff and visitors, because we’re an open campus,” Newsom said.

Some of the ideas discussed for additional parking in the future include the addition of large surface lots and a parking garage.

While the parking adjustments may have added some strain to students, faculty and staff, Newsom said that the overall project is the main reason she came here and that it will be beneficial for both the university and community.

“The Health Pavilion is one of those projects that will have such an impact on the campus and the University Heights neighborhood, so I’m really excited to see this project grow and anchor the campus,” Newsom said. “It’s really a great opportunity for continuing the great work the university has done, and some of those goals and ideals are why I came here.”

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