North Torrey Pines Parking Structure Opens

An additional 380 “”S”” parking spaces became available Saturday when the new North Torrey Pines parking structure in Thurgood Marshall College opened.

The structure, which has been in construction since August 1999, also contains 309 “”B”” Spots, 161 “”A”” spots, 104 metered visitor spots and 18 handicapped spots.

The North Torrey Pines Lot, located between Scholars Drive North and North Torrey Pines Road, has six floors and two entrances. A new entrance onto campus on North Torrey Pines Road is set to open March 1, which will provide more convenient access to the structure.

Students believe that the ability to park everywhere on campus will be made much easier due to this opening.

“”Hopefully it will alleviate the parking problems in Muir,”” Muir sophomore Adam Roston said. “”Parking there has become virtually impossible past 8 a.m.””

The fall opening of the Gilman parking structure provided an additional 307 “”S”” parking spaces as well. However, the six-level structure fills to capacity early in the morning and is full until late in the afternoon when most students have already gone home.

“”Based upon our fall quarter 2000 survey, the ‘S’ spaces in this structure filled to peak capacity about 9 a.m.,”” Director of Parking and Transportation Greg Snee said. “”The ‘B’ spaces, 197, filled to peak capacity at about 11 a.m., and ‘A’ spaces, 147, reach their maximum usage at 2 p.m.””

Students who arrive past 10 a.m., though they cannot park in the two new structures, said they still reap the benefits of them being there.

“”It just makes parking easier other places on campus,”” Marshall sophomore Eric Robin said. “”East parking is a lot less crowded now that people are parking closer to campus. The lazy students are getting a break, too.””

Although many like the fact that there is new parking on campus, some have begun to question the new North Torrey Pines structure.

“”[The new structure] is in the middle of nowhere,”” Revelle junior Yang Fan said. “”It seems like it is only for Marshall students. There should have been more student input.””

Fan said the types of parking spaces are disproportional to the number of people who actually need them.

“”There are way too many ‘B’ spots,”” he said. “”There are not enough ‘S’ spaces.””

Moreover, parking still remains a large problem plaguing the school as the demand for permits and parking spaces increases every day.

“”Our fall 2000 average weekday parking space occupancy levels indicate that on the La Jolla campus, 82 percent of the total parking space inventory was occupied at peak, 12 noon,”” Snee said. “”‘S’ spaces filled to 86 percent occupancy at 1:00 p.m.””

In order to combat this problem, Transportation and Parking Services and Nelson/Nygard Consulting Associates are working together to produce a new transportation and parking study to determine the magnitude of the problem and where to go from here.

“”The UCSD parking and transportation study should be completed in the winter quarter 2001,”” Snee said. “”The UCSD Transportation Policy Committee will be reviewing these recommendations at the end of winter quarter 2001.””

Warren junior Rick James said the only way this study will be beneficial is if they finally begin to see that parking for students is both vital and necessary.

“”I just hope they don’t take the easy way out and say that all this campus needs is more carpooling and vanpooling,”” he said. “”That is all well and good, but it really doesn’t fill the students’ needs. They need to realize that a lot of the problems just won’t go away and that students just need extra spots to park in.””

A similar study was done in 1996 to make parking projections and recommendations for the 2005-2006 school year.

Among the ideas discussed in this document was the possibility of building a new parking structure in or near University Center. The study projected it could be constructed by the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

Most students agree this was a good idea, although they wish it were built five years ago.

“”Unless I take four senior years this really won’t have any effect on me,”” Robin said. “”But at least my brother will get a chance to park close to Price Center.””

Many considerations, including the size, location and its level above or below ground are still immediate considerations that have to be decided before any new structure is built. The study said the new structure, if built, should contain around 750 parking spots.

Of similar importance, the committee made the proximity of the structure to all major buildings on campus a large priority. According to the study, the new structure should be built no more than half a mile from all major buildings on campus such as Geisel Library, the Price Center and the International Center, as the extra walk would not allow for quick access to these sites.

Additionally, the decision as to whether the structure will be above or below ground has yet to be made. If above ground, the structure will have to comply with height and design requirements. If the parking were to be below-ground, an additional building will have to be constructed above the subterranean parking levels.

The above-ground portion of the structure could possibly become a new expanded bookstore or career services center, among other possibilities.

According to the study done in 1996, the committee was considering at least 11 other possible sites.

Among the sites in contention are a 875-spot, five-story complex along Myers Drive that would cost around $9,500,000, a 765-spot, five-story complex west of Russel Lane that would cost around $7,300,000, and a 960-spot, four-story underground parking structure and four story above ground medical building west of the school of medicine that would cost about $13,000,000.

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