Games Won’t Affect Upper-Campus Lots

How will medical student Alison Schick cope with parking during the Olympics? She’s outta here!

As did many of her fellow fourth-year students, Schick “very intentionally” scheduled rotations far away from the anticipated madness.

Parking services’ own studies show that demand for parking spaces in upper campus remains unchanged during the Olympics/spring break because its constituents are mostly staff members and patients. Therefore, it plans to reserve most of the 4,600 parking stalls surrounding the health science center.

During the Games, the Salt Lake Organizing Committee will take the 200 stalls in the center’s only economy lot. Because these spaces are used exclusively by students and no classes are held during the Olympics, the effect should be small.

“It will affect the third-year [medical] students the most,” Schick said.

Medical students begin their rotations?getting hands-on experience working in various clinical departments?after their first two years of medical school. Students fulfill their required rotations at four local hospitals?University Hospital, LDS Hospital, Primary Children’s Medical Center and the Veteran Administration Hospital?during their third year.

Fourth-year students, like Schick, have more flexibility selecting venues for their elective rotations. Schick scheduled rotations in Layton and Ogden, where she plans to live with relatives and avoid being in Salt Lake City altogether.

“Even without the Olympics, the parking was crappy,” Schick said about upper campus. “The E lot is minuscule.”

Third-year student Angela Hanna will have a rotation at University Hospital during the Olympics. She avoided buying a parking permit this year because she hasn’t had a rotation at the U. Hanna resorted buying a 30-day A Pass, which is available to third- and fourth-year students, for the few weeks she has to be there.

Although third-year students can make requests to have their rotations at any one of the four hospitals, Hanna said planning for her future is more important than avoiding traffic.

“I don’t think [the Olympics] is a factor,” Hanna said. “If it’s a specialty you’re planning to study, then you want to do the rotation at the U,” because the student can get the best letters of recommendation from faculty here.

Although upper campus will not lose many parking spaces, getting to them may be the challenge. Only cars with placards indicating employment and residency are allowed through checkpoints on Medical Drive South near the south parking terrace and at the intersection of Wasatch Drive and Medical Drive. Security personnel may also search cars for suspicious contents.

SLOC will impose even stricter access to the area south of Medical Drive South, which include the Medical Plaza Apartments and Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute. According to a source involved with the planning, SLOC wants a 300 foot buffer zone near the Olympic Village in case of a bomb blast. Everyone entering this zone must wear a placard indicating employment and residency.

Wasatch Drive will be a one way, northbound street beginning Jan. 28. During afternoons on Feb. 6, 8 and 24?dates of the Olympic ceremony rehearsal, the Olympic Opening Ceremony and the Paralympic Opening Ceremony?traffic is restricted to official and emergency vehicles only. Hospital clinics will close in the afternoon on Feb. 6 and 8. Feb. 24 is a Sunday, when clinics are usually closed.

The only hospital access to remain open at all times is North Campus Drive. To help patients get there, planners set the detour for Wasatch Drive traffic approaching from Foothill Drive on westbound 1300 South and 1700 South, northbound 900 East and 700 East, then eastbound 100 South.

According to Madeline Buelt, administrative executive director of the hospital, clinics have been warning patients about the shortened hours and road closures for about a month.

“Patients are going to be making individual decisions,” Buelt said. “Some will think this will be as close as they can get to the Olympics.”