University City

Parking decks open up more options

First to go were the dinosaurs. More recently, it's been the dodo bird and the Eastern cougar. Next on the list of extinction could be surface parking lots at UNC Charlotte.

In an effort to better use the land and, at the same time, accommodate rising enrollment, UNCC officials say asphalt parking spaces will most likely become a thing of the past.

Currently, 7,815 of the campus' 12,459 total spaces are in surface lots.

"The master plan calls for eventually most surface parking to be replaced by deck," said Gary Caton, director for Parking and Transportation Services at UNCC. "Any new construction should be a structured parking area rather than a surface parking area simply because you get more use from the land going up than you do going out."

The growing enrollment over the last few years at UNCC, which reached record numbers in its 2010 fall semester with 25,144 students, has brought a need for more parking. At the same time more parking is needed, many of the flat lots are being scoped for other uses, such as future building sites.

Three new parking decks are in the works.

Deck H opens in August with 1,187 parking spaces.

Deck I is scheduled to open August 2012 with 1,337 spaces, and Deck J, still in the design phase, will eventually contribute 1,000 to 1,250 spaces.

With the change from surface to structured lots comes a rise in parking permit fees. Steady increases have occurred each year since deck construction first began. In Fall 2011, a full year parking permit will cost $380, an increase of $45 from 2010.

Last year, the university issued 23,000 permits, including part- and full-time, temporary and replacement permits.

Parking is considered an auxiliary service and is not state-funded, said Caton. The income generated from the permits funds the parking decks.


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