Construction in parking lots aims to make campus safer for students

August 29, 2016

Hannah Harvey

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     Several construction projects aiming to improve the campus experience will be waiting for students upon their return to campus this fall.

     A new bus stop for Mountain Metropolitan Transit riders, improvements in parking in Lot 224, a re-pavement project in Lot 580 and a new free parking lot near Alpine Village are a few of the projects that came underway while students were away for the summer.

Mountain Metro Route 9 and Lot 224

     Construction for Mountain Metro Route 9 began on Aug. 1 and is expected to be complete for student use on Sept. 18, according to project manager Sherry Reed.

     Concrete was laid for the bus stop on Aug. 26 and site grading is expected to be completed on Aug. 31. The installation of the bus stop itself cost $118,000.

Construction continues across campus. Austin Chasse: The Scribe

     The bus stop for Mountain Metro Route 9 was originally located in front of Centennial Hall. The stop at Centennial Hall will now only be used by UCCS shuttle buses. Mountain Metro will continue to pick up on Austin Bluffs until the stop is completed.

     This stop was moved at the request of Mountain Metropolitan Transit due to a heavy traffic volume, according to Jim Spice, executive director of parking and transportation.

     “(The bus stop) got to be too congested. A lot of times, our buses were stacked at the shuttle stop all the way to the roundabout, and their buses had to wait until our buses cleared,” said Spice.

     “These changes provide a safer bus crossing and a better bus route,” added Reed.

     A handicap-accessible staircase was also installed, costing $20,000.  The railing for the stairs began on Aug. 1 and was complete by Aug. 26. Signage and striping were painted on Aug. 19. (Share arrows) were painted on Aug. 20 for bicyclist use in the one-way street in the first tier of Lot 224, according to Reed.

     Changes have also been made to Lot 224. Now, the street in the first row of the parking lot will be one-way. Angled parking will also be implemented to improve safety, according to Gary Reynolds, associate vice chancellor for campus planning and facilities management.

     “Angled parking provides a wider, safer transit for the bus to travel,” said Reynolds.

     It is unknown whether parking in Lot 224 previously posed a problem to those using it, according to Reynolds. The first two tiers of Lot 224 were converted to a one-way road to avoid two-way congestion as well.

Lot 540 and Alpine Village

     Lot 540, previously known as Lot 440, will be available for student use on Oct. 1. Electrical and landscape developments must be added before it is opened, according to Spice.

     The lot, located northwest of Alpine Garage and accessible off of Stanton Road, previously served as a lot for contractors and construction workers hired to build developments in Alpine Village.

     The lot is currently split into three tiers, with approximately 135 parking spaces in each. The first tier will be designated for construction workers, while the second tier will be available for student use. Shuttle buses will house in the third tier.

     Construction will be use 125 spaces, according to Spice. After construction for Alpine Village is completed, 250 spaces will be available for students.

     Construction for Alpine Village will be officially completed Oct. 1, according to Spice.

     “Construction is completed now, but they have a punch list, which are things to do to make sure that everything is up and running,” said Spice.

     LED lighting will be installed in six to eight weeks for Lot 540 as well. Electric costs for the lot were $187,000, according to Reed.

     “The lot will be free to students, and you don’t have to have a permit to park there, but there won’t be lighting,” said Spice. Lighting is expected to be added in mid-September.

Lot 580

     Lot 580 was repaved due to issues with the original asphalt millings. The lot was sinking due to semi-truck traffic associated with the re-turf of the soccer field, according to Reed. 300 parking spots are currently available for student use on the lot.

     “We pulverized (the millings). This takes the millings and mixes it with the soil underneath to make it a stronger bond,” said Reed. Three feet of soil was taken out to mix with a fill-base, so that it wouldn’t continue to sink.

     “Heavy traffic can roll asphalt millings, and the lot experienced so much traffic that it was tearing it,” said Reynolds. Re-pavement began June 27 and ended July 29. The project cost $361,000 total, according to Reed.

     Parking should be significantly improved on Lot 580 due to the changes.

     “We will still restrict the weight of vehicles, because we’re not 100 percent sure what weight classification it will withstand,” said Reed.