Yale faces parking problem

Yale officials are scrambling to come up with ways to avoid a short- and long-term parking crunch on campus in the wake of new dormitory and classroom construction that will require the destruction of parking lots formerly used by students, University personnel and New Haven residents.

As parking lots are replaced with bulldozers and piles of dirt, Yale is providing alternate parking in areas farther away from central campus and considering building “satellite” lots located on the outskirts of campus and reachable by shuttle bus, along with building a new parking garage near Ingalls Rink. But as more construction is planned for the future, further eliminating parking options, administration members are encouraging reduced use of cars.

Work on the first new building, a 46-bed dormitory meant to house Silliman students while their college is being renovated next year, has already begun on the former site of a parking lot at 310-312 Elm St. Despite the loss of the lot’s spaces, University Properties associate director Troy Resch stressed that those who had previously parked there, primarily Yale employees and local merchants, have all been provided new spots.

“When that lot went, we were able to offer spaces to everyone that was displaced,” Resch said. “We were able to put lots of people in the UPS lot at the corner of Dixwell and Goffe.”

Resch said University Properties also provided spaces to displaced Yale employees in the lot behind 99-101 Lake Pl. and in lot 80, at the corner of Howe and Edgewood streets, where some students park. But Director of Support Services Don Relihan said lot 80 is slotted to be torn down in late spring in order to make way for a new Sculpture building. Relihan said another lot — lot 22, located at 260 Whitney Ave. — will also be knocked down about a year from now to create space for a new Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology building.

Relihan acknowledged that the destruction of those two lots would mean a loss of parking spots for students and Yale employees around central campus, but he maintained that anyone who wished to have a spot would be supplied one.

But Janet Lindner, associate vice president for administration, said while all students are still guaranteed parking, they may not receive a spot in the most convenient lot.

“No immediate change in student parking policy is foreseen,” Lindner said. “We don’t have a specific allotment. You may not get your first choice of parking lot, but so far we’ve been able to get everyone who wants to park on campus a spot on campus.”

In order to alleviate the strain that will be placed on students and Yale personnel when construction begins this spring, Relihan said that the University is attempting to build a new 350-space parking garage just north of Ingalls Rink. Relihan said he hoped work on the new garage would soon be allowed to move forward by the city.

“We’re in the final stages of trying to get approval from the city for the garage,” Relihan said. “The University is working hard for final approval.”

In the time between the start of construction in the spring and the completion of the new garage, which Relihan predicted would take a year and a half to erect, Yale is considering offering University employees spots in “satellite” lots and the use of a shuttle bus service to bring them to campus.

“We’re thinking about digging spots out of the Yale Bowl,” Relihan said. “The candidates for those spaces would be people who drive in from places [such as] Orange and Milford everyday, people who drive down Route 34 on a daily basis. The Yale Bowl is on the way to work for them.”

Lindner said other ideas include subsidizing parking rates for shared riders in certain lots.

“As more construction occurs in the center of campus, that’s going to make parking there more and more of a precious commodity,” Lindner said. “Over time, as parking becomes more scarce, we plan to try incentives to keep fewer student cars on campus.”

Vice President for Finance and Administration John Pepper said Yale will continue to look for ways to manage demand and reduce the need for cars.

“We need to do all we can to reduce our energy usage and emissions,” Pepper said. “We’re studying what we can do on the whole subject, but we’re just short of a policy.”

Construction moves forward in the former parking lot at 310-312 Elm Street, by Davenport College. A second lot on Whitney Avenue will be removed next year, further constricting central campus parking.
Michael Blank
Construction moves forward in the former parking lot at 310-312 Elm Street, by Davenport College. A second lot on Whitney Avenue will be removed next year, further constricting central campus parking.

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