Parking Break

You can park if you want to,
you can leave your friends behind,
because your friends can’t park, and if they can’t park,
then they are no friends of mine.

-blatantly stolen and mangled from Men Without Hats

Well, we got the scoop on the parking sitch here and let me tell you, there is a WHOLE lot of fussing going on. Here’s a tad of back story just so y’all can get the flavor: Big town, no parking. Yup, that pretty much sums everything up in a nut shell right there and you can easily replace “town” with “university” and it would still hold true. TheMan ran into some stats a while back comparing new hires to new parking which boils down to 4 employees hired for every 1 new parking space created or there abouts. I don’t have the cold hard numbers on me at the moment but it’s pretty close. Even if it were 2 to 1, that still leaves someone circling Parking Vulture like in the mornings while the other one gets into work on time. Some people have to plan their day an extra half hour early just so they can park near their work. Insane.

For us here at the LS, we have our happy comfy blue lot right outside the building which tends to fill up by 9ish, give or take, is nicely accessible and gosh darned convenient. We love our little lot! Unfortunately, THEM (whoever is in charge of creating new construction here at the U, not the ants…although they too could be in on it) love it more and are planning on taking it away forever come late July. *sniff* Our little lot! Wah! And THEY are not even going to replace it with more parking but rather a building. You just can’t park as conveniently in the lobby of a building as you can on a surface lot. So we are resigned to parking elsewhere in August and They (the parking people this time, no ants) held a special discussion yesterday about our options for parking come D-Day.

I and most of my coworkers went to this meeting resigned in the loss of our lot but eager to see what They had to tell us about our alternatives. They had all sorts of information to impart to us about lots and timetables and closings and new lots and lots not built and whatnot. We still have several close (but not as happily close) options for parking: The Business School structure down two blocks, the Thompson Street structure over three blocks, the Church Street structure over the other way three blocks and of course there is the Palmer Structure! It’s new! It’s shiny! (shiny! yes, it did echo exactly like that…why do you ask?) It’s state of the art, it’s conveniently located, it’s new (and it also has a giant ass crane on the top of it, but more on that later. Shhh, focus on the Shiny!) and best of all, it’s shiny! So you could park there, you know, because it’s new! And shiny!

Yes, there is lots of parking…and there is the Palmer Structure! Or you could commute too, because y�all KNOW we have the BEST university run commuting system in the town! Why, it’s only a five minute commuter ride from the coliseum! How fortunate we all are to be living in these times and working in this location. We have the best of options, what with the BSchool structure and the Thompson structure and the Church structure and did I mention the Palmer Structure!? Commuting! The drop off is just on the far corner of the LS! How�s that for convenient? And the Division street lot will make life a piece of cake, we will love it!

(justkeepinmindthatwearegoingtobeclosingashitloadofstructures – allatthesametimethissummer)

A room of people can collectively feel the wool being pulled over their eyes, I think. Well, unless you are one of those whacked out Republicans attending a Bush convention but in general, I think people can tell when someone isn’t quite on the up and out. This fella was setting off tiny “Huh? What? Wait…” vibes all over the room so when he opened the floor to questions he opened the door for a huge can of worms fest. We were on him like blue on the screen of a windows platform machine. Ha!

First of all, the New! Shiny! Palmer Structure! is located on the far side of halfway between the medical campus (a good 20 minute brisk walk in nice weather) and the LS…not exactly “convenient” as I understand the word. Plus it has that giant assed crane on its roof, which has got to come off at some point in time. When it does the whole structure’s going to have to be shut down for a week (give or take). We do have a firmish date on that week though, end(ish) of July. The only reason it effects us at all is that “some people who are parking in the Church structure might shift over to the Palmer Structure! once they open up the top two crane infested floors (and 200 more parking spaces). Ok then…but when they close the Palmer Structure! down, 400 of the currently parking people are going to have to go somewhere else. Hmmm.

Next, we wanted to know about the traffic flow in the BSchool lot, easily the closest lot to us once our little lot (*sniff*) goes away and he said that it tends to fill up early. We had to press him on how early was early because there are many nuances of “early” to this working crowd. This particular nuance happens to fall just before 8:00am early. Ouch. When our lot goes and releases 150 more parking people into the wild, the early morning struggle to park isn�t going to be pretty. Plus, they are closing the BSchool structure down from July 1st to mid August for repairs so our transient 150 and the current BSchool parking 500 are going to have to find other places to camp for the day.

Oh wait…isn’t the Palmer Structure! also closing around that time too? Y’all know the most important thing about comedy don’t you? Timing!

That leaves the Thompson Street structure and the Church Street structure to absorb about 1000 displaced parkers for a week, and 650 displaced parkers for 4 weeks. No, not pretty at all. Especially when you take into account that the Thompson Street structure fills up at about 9. I have no idea about the Church Street structure, I was too depressed at this time to ask.

Cheer up though, we have the best university commuter system in town. Of course we also have the worst university commuter system in town because we have the only university commuter system in town. Semantics. And I don’t care what kind of crack the parking guy was smoking, it is easily a 15 minute bus ride to the nearest lot. I’ve ridden it. Five minutes my ass. Maybe 5 minutes if the bus were RIGHT there as you got to the lot and they sling shotted it as the crow flies to the Union bus stop, maybe THEN we can start talking 5 minutes.

He also spent a good deal of time reassuring us that the Division Street Structure, which would be further out than Thompson, would alleviate a lot of the parking crunch. Hooray for the Division Street Structure! Of course we don�t know exactly where it is because it isn�t slated to be built for another three years yet but when it is, boy, the parking problems will all magically vanish. Just you wait. In the meantime, there is the Palmer Structure!

Or, you know, you could commute (from the yellow lots which are a much cheaper parking option than the blue lots. For which we already have permits. For next year. At which time our blue lot will have ceased to exist for quite a while). Many people were not happy about the commuter push, from what I saw, and probably because they, like TheMan and I, already have paid a good chunk o� change for a blue permit. It would be nice to have blue lot options close to work (that we didn�t have to play how early do I have to get here to park for the day) if we have already paid to park in the blue lots. Otherwise, it�s like paying for a first class plane ticket and having to sit in coach. I don�t think we are asking for a lot right next to the building, but we would really like a lot near us that wasn�t already full to bursting that we could be assured a spot in if we got to work at a reasonable hour.

My favorite part of the talk was when the parking guy said they did a study of the Thompson Street structure just last week and found that an entire two floors were empty. Hooray! No worries about parking what with two whole floors empty. Never mind that it�s summer time (when a good quarter of the people are gone) and that last week was the week after Memorial Day (when more people are gone), we got space! Hooray! I�m not sure who was in charge of that nice piece of planning but�Hello? What sort of meaning does that study have on the real world here? It’s like coming up with an accurate number of people who use PCs by surveying the clientele at an Apple store. No worries about that PC compatibility issue, not many people use them these days.

So that was my fun for the afternoon. I gotta go now and sniff out where all the blue lots around here are. I�m going to need to park somewhere damnit and I have to be prepared!

Last Year at the booniverse: Lastly, The Circle Of Death. What kind of kid wouldn’t dig an exercise called The Circle Of Death.

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