The Union Lane Garage will temporarily close before the end of the semester, reducing parking across the University of Maryland’s campus by about 110 spaces.
The garage will close as early as April 29, and is expected to reopen before the fall semester. Facilities Management planning and construction director Bill Olen said the closing date may be delayed a few weeks, as workers wait for new construction materials and finish up maintenance on the open-air top deck.
The work delayed the structure’s full closure, which was supposed to happen last summer.
“There’s a lot of traffic on the top deck, and that deck receives more wear and tear than the other decks, so it needed heavier maintenance,” Olen said. “When we realized last summer that the top deck was worn out to a greater extent than the lower levels, we decided to not press forward and only reopen a portion of the garage for the fall and spring semester.”
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The garage’s other floors will receive more routine work with the renovation, including repainting, redrawing space lines, fixing drainage systems and replacing light fixtures.
Olen said the project, which will cost $2.4 million, should be completed before the start of the fall semester.
The closure comes in addition to the 170 spaces that were lost earlier this semester due to the garage’s top-deck maintenance, Department of Transportation Services director David Allen said.
While there are enough places for students and visitors to park on the campus, Allen said, the greater issue is convenience.
“Most of our parking problems are about a convenience problem, as opposed to a number of spaces problem,” Allen said. “Right now, unless there’s some kind of special event, every student and employee can find a space in their assigned lot on a regular basis. … We will never let it get to the point that you can’t find a space.”
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He added that the Purple Line — a 16-mile light rail that would run through this university’s campus — should reduce dependence on parking by at least 500 spaces after its 2023 opening.
But some students are concerned that future parking reductions are pushing them further away from their desired locations.
While David Murawski, a freshman mechanical engineering major, does not currently have a car on campus, he plans to have one in future semesters and said the extensive construction would be a significant problem.
“If they end up moving students to parking lots further and further away from the center of campus … it’s going to cause quite a big inconvenience,” Murawski said. “It doesn’t really put the students in mind or care about their needs.”
Vijay Dev, a senior environmental science and technology major, agreed. Dev said he believes parking will become more competitive as the spaces become less convenient.
“The less parking that is available, it’s going to be harder to find parking in the future because people will be concentrated in the areas that are left,” he said.
Separately, Olen said the Terrapin Trail Garage will close by early July for similar upkeep. It should reopen before the start of the fall semester.