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Lot Construction Balances Demand for Parking with Tree Preservation     

As UTSA has grown, and more students and top-tier faculty have joined the university, construction projects have had to keep pace with the progress. This advancement is now being reflected in the design and construction of new parking spaces that are necessary to support expanding academic programs and first-class research. UTSA is committed to ensuring an excellent campus environment for members of our community…we are also committed to sustainable development as the needs of the university expand. 

The Campus Services and Facilities departments have collaborated to construct two new parking lots on Main Campus that will create approximately 400 additional spaces for UTSA students, faculty, and staff. Both lots are expected to be open for the first day of fall 2017 classes.   

Crews are now working on the new Devine Ave. Parking Lot, an area of 45,075 square feet north of the Business Building by the circle on Main Campus. It will offer about 125 Reserved, Employee A and Disabled parking spaces. As a result, other lots on campus will have changes in parking permit categories, specifically to benefit students.

The new Resident Lot 4, at 93,020 square feet, will be located at the corner of Tobin Ave. and Brenan Ave. across from the Roadrunner Café. It is expected to provide approximately 275 spaces for students with Resident "H" permits, thus opening spaces in the Barshop Lots to be converted back to Commuter Student spaces. The lot was designed with a 100-foot setback area that will not be disturbed or built upon to preserve the trees that live in the frontage area. 

In planning the construction, UTSA has incorporated our commitment to sustainable development. "As UTSA continues to grow and advance toward Tier One status, providing necessary resources is paramount to UTSA's Business Affairs’ and Campus Services' mission," said Clay Haverland, Assistant Vice President for Campus Services. "The addition of new parking lots and reallocation of existing parking is designed to help alleviate some of the congestion experienced over the last academic year, providing more parking options for students and employees." Clay reports that the projects will cost about $3 million and are funded through parking strategic reserves. Fencing and signage will help route pedestrian traffic safely around the projects.

Benjamin Perry, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Director of Facilities Planning & Development and University Architect, outlined some of the considerations for the preservation of the environment while helping the university keep pace with growing demands for parking. Using its standard process for examining the environmental impact of projects, as well as its customary attention to detail, the design team carefully analyzed approaches that would allow for the minimum number of trees being removed while allowing the maximum number of campus community members to park. 

This location for the Devine Ave. Parking Lot is logical because the university’s master plans calls for a building serving students’ educational needs to eventually reside on this plot of land. The choice of this location means that greenways in other areas on campus will be maintained for the long term, as laid out in the master plan. 
 
The design team made it a priority to identify trees that could remain in the Devine Parking Lot while delivering the largest possible number of parking spaces. An arborist will be on site three times through the course of development to provide direction on the health of trees remaining. Twenty-four percent of the trees in that parking lot were preserved, including trees donated by the Green Fund, which will remain in place or be relocated. A chain link fence is being installed to protect the trees, so that construction activities are kept at a safe distance.

Between the two parking lot projects, 414 trees were counted, 260 trees are to remain, and 154 trees were removed. UTSA’s senior environmental planner, a staff expert with more than 15 years’ experience, determined that many of the removed trees were diseased and dying and thus were not viable to survive. Additionally, parking lot design upgrades, such as higher curbing, were used to prevent root damage.  

Keith Muhlestein, UTSA Director of Sustainability, will be assisting the University Architect with development of a standard Preservation and Mitigation Plan to be incorporated into the university’s master plan. Initiating this effort now—during Earth Month—underscores UTSA’s commitment to sustainable growth that supports the university’s goals.  

View the new Main Campus parking map for the 2017-2018 academic year. 
UTSA Today article: http://www.utsa.edu/today/2017/04/newparkinglots.html 
Campus Services will provide updates on the parking improvements throughout construction on Twitter and Facebook.

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4-12-2017