More Parking Closures Loom

After analyzing the parking situation, U President Bernie Machen canceled afternoon classes March 7.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee will take over 47 percent of parking on campus in order to accommodate the Paralympic Opening Ceremony later that day.

With parking already limited, the closure will help relieve some of the parking stress.

“No one will need to be on campus when the parking gets that scarce,” said Alma Allred, director of Transportation and Parking Services.

March 7 is not the only day the U will tighten its parking belt. On Jan. 9, SLOC will take over more than 500 spaces in the annex parking lot. After Jan. 26, the number of SLOC controlled spots will increase to 659.

However, these numbers are not as large as first drafted.

“We were originally slated to lose 771 spots,” Allred said. “Now we have more than 100 spots, more than we ever expected.”

The U will retain the southernmost two rows of parking in the annex lot after Jan. 9, so students will have access to limited parking, Allred said.

The difficult parking situation forced some students to become creative with their schedules.

“I was smart, I got credit for my job, and I’m only taking two classes at the U this semester,” said Anne Looser, a political science student. “But I have to start my classes at 7:30 a.m. because I spend 40 minutes searching for a parking spot anyway if I start any later.”

During the Olympic break, students, faculty and staff will have a difficult time accessing the U, especially the southern part of campus near the stadium, Allred said.

Students, faculty and staff can still use 100 South, and access to the University Hospital will remain open at all times, Allred said.

On Feb. 6, the campus will close after noon, and on Feb. 8 and Feb. 24, the campus will shut down all day.

SLOC will return the parking spaces, including the 1,250 space Rice-Eccles stadium lot, in April. Until that time, the campus must confront a parking shortage.

To help solve the problem, the student government, the Utah Transit Authority and parking services have campaigned for mass transit use, including the new university TRAX line.

If 1,000 students ride light rail instead of take their cars to school, the parking crunch won’t be as hard to deal with, Allred said.

So far, more than 1,000 students have ridden the trains to school. Allred hopes the number doesn’t drop once the novelty of the line wears off.

David Lindsay, a math student, rides the bus every day from his Centerville home.

“I could have bought a car this year, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to have to deal with all of the parking problems the Olympics would bring,” he said.

Students can use all UTA services, including light rail, for free by showing their current U Cards.

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