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Alison Gowling/The Gauntlet

Park it, if you can

Campus shuffles put student parking in jeopardy

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An internal transit shuttle system. A ring road and an interchange. Short-term underground parking and bicycle pathways. A family-orientated, pedestrian-focussed university core.

These are just some of the changes students may notice in coming years due to the progression of the University of Calgary Campus Community Plan. In the short-term, students will notice a challenge in finding parking as spaces will be reduced in Fall 2001.

According to Director of Ancillary Services Pete Fraser, the lost space will be compensated for elsewhere for at least the fall semester.

"We will attempt to maintain the status quo with the same number of parking stalls," he said.

The CCP, which provides the framework for future university developments, proposed major shuffles of on-campus parking lots and students hoping to park in familiar lots may be disappointed.

"Parking is being consolidated to the perimeter of the university," said CCP spokesperson Lori van Rooijen. "A series of parkade structures will accommodate commuter traffic."

The construction of buildings such as the proposed Sports Pavilion will claim a significant amount of existing parking space. The Sports Pavilion is currently projected to occupy Lot 10, a major student parking centre. Fraser indicated opposition to the suggested location of the Sports Pavilion and the impact on affordable student parking.

The pending parking issues are difficult to address as the CCP changes perpetually.

"The CCP is a moving target," stated Fraser. "When all is said and done, people want to know where they can park, how much it will cost and how close it is to where they are going."

van Rooijen defended the CCP.

"Planning is a dynamic activity," she said. "The CCP is not there to be prescriptive, but to provide a guideline for the plan to be flexible enough to meet the needs of the individual stakeholders."

In light of reduced parking facilities, adequate transport alternatives for campus commuters are becoming necessary pursuits.

Students' Union Vice-President Operations and Finance Natasha Dhillon is currently exploring bike lockers as one such alternative for students.

"These would be enclosed structures to house bikes and accessories," stated Dhillon. "Transportation and its costs are going to be a problem in the next couple of years and bicycle lockers are a responsible way to meet the continued needs of students."

U of C Bike Club President Ryan Rasmussen supported the idea of a bike-friendly campus, but recognized the problems facing some U of C students.

"As much as I want everyone in the world to bike you can't force people to," he said, citing unsafe roads and winter conditions as reasons why students would drive rather than bike.

The CCP can be viewed in its entirety at <<http://www.ucalgary.ca/campusplan/>>.

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