Students who are not among the thousands to find a parking spot in CSUN’s new 5-level parking structure might be glad to hear that proposals for a new structure are already underway.
The new $18 million B3 parking structure, which is set to open today, can be entered and exited from Darby Avenue or Prairie Street, in addition to another exit on Etiwanda Avenue. The structure has a maximum capacity of 2,231 parking spaces, with 2,071 spots reserved for students and 160 spaces for faculty and staff.
However, the new parking structure is only a temporary solution to CSUN’s parking problem, according to Dave Chakraborty, manager of construction services at CSUN.
“Adding 2,000 (parking spaces) in the middle of campus certainly will help, but it won’t be the end of the parking issue,” Chakraborty said.
A third parking structure, slated to be built across the street from the University Student Union on Zelzah Avenue, would provide the university’s eastern side of campus with additional parking, he said.
Once the funding is secured, the proposed structure will take about a year to design, and another year will be spent on its construction.
“Then you can start seeing the benefits of all the parking structures, and (students) will not have to come an hour and a half early to find parking,” Chakraborty said.
If they are not in such a rush, students who do find parking in the new B3 parking structure might also notice it is designed differently from the B5 parking structure, which opened over two years ago adjacent to the Education Building.
But such aesthetic elements take a back seat to safety concerns when Margarita Aguilar decides where she will park.
Aguilar, a mathematics major, said that she takes whatever parking space is available closest to her classes and avoids parking lots that are not well lit at night.
“I’m pretty sure (the B3 structure) has enough lights,” she said. “I think they know what they are doing.”
Because the costs associated with building a new parking structure are determined by its size and funding from student parking fees, the B3 lot incorporated more aesthetic and safety features without being too expensive, Chakraborty said.
The B3 structure, designed by LMA Architects, has post-tension cables and rebar that allow the decks to expand and shift in the event of an earthquake, as well as 17 emergency call boxes. It also has parking permit machines on every floor, and has the capacity to accommodate 1,200 more cars than the previous asphalt parking lot it replaced, Chakraborty said.
The new parking structure will require increased maintenance. With a hiring freeze in place the last two years, it willpresent some challenges, said Tom Brown, director of Physical Plant Management.
“With the increased use of facilities we’re really hoping to outfit ourselves to be able to change,” he said. “We’re responsible to do our job, and if (students and faculty) don’t like what they’re seeing, they need to step up and be vocal about it.”
However, the new B3 structure fails to attract Dan Phillips, special education graduate student, but not because of its appearance. He said he has been parking off campus for over a year in order to avoid paying four dollars a day or $126 per semester for parking permits.
“That’s an extra beer. I’m a young guy and I don’t mind walking.” he said. “But, I can understand why women mind when it’s dark out.”
The new structure is scheduled to have a ribbon cutting ceremony September 8.
Julio Morales can be reached at email@example.com.