Dalhousie’s Facilities Management team dives head-first into its busiest time of their year during the summer. Campus planning and construction picks up, with the Facilities team preparing for the upcoming academic year and continuing to move forward on capital and development projects aligned with the university’s Campus Master Plan.
As noted in Dal News’ article on capital projects last month, 2015 will mark the completion of the Wallace McCain Leaning Commons, the Collaborative Health Education Building, and the Sexton to Carleton District Heating projects. New projects in the process of getting underway are the Fitness Centre, the University Avenue protected bike lane (pending approval) and the renovation of the Student Union Building.
“We’ve been making major steps over the past five years or so to improve Dalhousie’s classrooms, labs and buildings to better support the student experience and our academic priorities” says Jeff Lamb, assistant vice-president of Facilities Management. “And we have several major capital projects commencing in 2015 to support our mission.”
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One of the challenges in campus development is space: Dalhousie has finite land available, and a need to ensure its core spaces are focused on its academic mission. That’s one reason why construction projects sometimes impact parking, a resource that’s often a contentious point of discussion within the Dal community.
Lamb says some of the capital projects currently underway will affect the type, number and location of parking spaces on the Studley and Sexton campuses this fall. Most of these changes have been studied and considered by Dalhousie’s Transportation and Security Committee over the past year.
“We know some of these changes may cause concern for those who park on campus, which is why we’ve been working to replace or accommodate the parking lost as best as we can for the upcoming year,” says Lamb.
As the fall term begins here’s a look at the parking changes, broken down by campus.
The much-anticipated new Fitness Centre will break ground this September on South Street, on the site where Eliza Ritchie Hall currently resides. That residence will be coming down to make way for the centre, as will the houses that have hosted the Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA) and South House. (These two organizations have been relocated to Seymour Street.) The construction will also mean the loss of approximately 75 general permit parking spaces and 12 metered spaces from the Eliza Ritchie and Dalplex parking area. The spaces will be retained for as long as possible before the construction begins mid-September.
Another change in this area of campus will be the expansion of the LeMarchant Lot (on the former site of the Dalhousie Memorial Arena) which will be under construction until mid-October. During construction, 22 parking spots in the lot will remain open as general parking. Once the work on the lot is complete, it will open as a “pay and display” parking zone, addressing rising short-term parking needs on campus. The aim of the LeMarchant Lot is to have the vast majority of short term parking in a concentrated area, easily accessible, which will allow some of the other metered areas on campus to become general permit parking. For example, once the “pay and display” lost is open, 23 metered spaces on Alumni Crescent (which runs around Wickwire Field) will be converted to general parking.
Another reason for the concentration of the short term parking is the planned University Avenue Bike Lane. Dalhousie and HRM are planning to begin work on the first protected bike lane in the Halifax region, supporting safe, active and sustainable transportation through campus. The implementation of this project is delayed until the end of October pending final approval. Once the plan is finalized, further information regarding changes to this area will be communicated.
To ensure accessible parking in the area, the end of University Avenue by the Killam Library (the “Killam Loop”) will have seven metered spots converted to accessible spots, located next to Dal’s Mark A. Hill Accessibility Centre. This change will not be made until work on the LeMarchant Lot is completed.
Dalhousie recently acquired the Rosina lot on Queen Street behind the Halifax Central Library. Long term, the site is targeted for future campus development. In the short term, this lot will make a significant impact on the availability of on-campus parking. The lot will add 200 general permit parking spaces to Sexton Campus, available for use by any Dalhousie general parking permit holder from all campuses.
The other change of note in Sexton Campus parking relates to the upper Morris lot, between Gerard Hall and the N Building. Work on the District Heating project — replacing the failed steam line that currently connects Sexton to Studley and Carleton campuses with a hot water line to provide more energy efficient heating — will require the removal of 32 parking spaces in the lot. These spots will not be returned to available parking immediately, as they’ll continue to be affected by further Sexton Campus improvements that are in the planning stages.
There are no expected changes to parking on the Carleton or Agricultural campuses.
Parking rates for 2015/16
Dalhousie parking permits of all types are now on sale. Rates have increased this year, as recommended by the Dalhousie Transportation and Security Committee and agreed upon by Senior Administration, who reviewed them in late July.
The increases, set in accordance with the DFA Collective Agreement, are a result of increased annual operating costs due to a number of factors, including snow removal. The rate increases are different for each type of parking (Outdoor Reserved, Indoor Reserved, General) because the university evaluates the revenues/expenses for each of management type separately when determining rates. The largest increase is to the Outdoor Reserved Rate, at 17.36 per cent. The increase is to General Parking is less (8 per cent) because the increase in operating costs is partially offset by the completion of the university’s loan payments for the paving of the Hancock lot several years ago. The Indoor Reserved rate is also increasing, by 4.8 per cent.
For more on parking at Dalhousie and for all the information on cost and purchasing of parking permits visit dal.ca/parking. For information on additional transporation supports on campus (including the RideShare program), visit the Dalhousie SMART Trip site.
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