Finals week just got a lot more interesting. On April 28 and 29 and on May 6, student parking garages will be closed to students to accommodate event parking for the Race for the Cure and Mini Marathon, respectively.
Blackford, Barnhill, Sports, Riverwalk, and Lockefield ST areas will be open for students during Race for the Cure, but New York Street construction will close Riverwalk and Sports from Friday evening to Saturday at noon. Parking in gateway is available for students and event visitors alike on a first-come first serve-basis.
For the Mini, lots 85, 83, 73, 92, 69, and 71 and Barnhill and Gateway will have the same mixed first-come first-served basis, but event visitors will not have access to Blackfield or Lockefield areas. The Indy 11 game also on May 6 will close lots 80, 59, and 63. New York Street closures 6 p.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Saturday will close Riverwalk and Sports garages again.
An official JagNews announcement encourages students to “plan accordingly and arrive early.”
Although parking services staff delegate and manage parking and pricing for almost every event, Race for the Cure is an exception. It’s a free event, unlike the Mini or an Indy 11 game, because the parking is donated. It’s so big that the garage gates stay up the entire time.
“The agreement is actually with the campus and the folks who Manage race for the Cure. It’s not an agreement with us,” Sheri Eggleton, director of parking services, explained. “That’s been in existence long before I even came to parking services.”
Eggleton and her colleagues said that student parking is forefront in their minds, always.
“So each event that we have kind of demands its own particular parking plan per se, but our top priority is always to make sure that if it's a fairly big event, that we do make alternate accommodations possible for students.”
The Mini and Race for the Cure are the result of “unfortunate timing,” as the school has to think of visitors as potential students and maintain strong bonds with the city.
But communicating with students can be a challenge. They try to utilize email blasts, JagNews, Inside IUPUI, and signage on campus to tell commuters when closures and construction will occur within an appropriate window. Circumstances, like weather, can and do often impact the “tentative time frames” for these situations.
Doug Tingley, the assistant director for transportation spatialization, came into his role eight months ago and personally attends to garages. He considers these interactions as opportunities for one on one education and the chance to help drivers, be it students or hospital patients, improve their experience at IUPUI.
“Because if you can fix it or make it better, then that’s what you’re really here for,” he said.
The JagNews announcement that parking would be limited on finals weekends went out on March 22, but there is no official announcement on the parking services website.
Parking at IUPUI is a perennial topic of discussion, even on the best of days. Many on campus are exasperated by the heavy traffic and construction. Tracey Donhardt, an English professor and former student of IUPUI, expressed concern at closing parking off to students and faculty for events.
“We are told we are not allowed to park there even though we paid a parking pass,” she said. That’s not right. They should not ever take away a parking spot from somebody who’s already paid for it.”
As a member of the faculty with an EM pass, she pays $606 a year for surface parking, as EM garage spaces are $852. EM passes can park in ST surface lot spaces, but not in ST garage spaces.
Others just shrug the changes off and do their best to keep their usual spaces. Benjamin Gutzwiller, a sophomore finance major, simply said that parking is out there. One just can’t be picky about it. He parks in the same spot almost every day: the top floor of Riverwalk.
“Some [garages] will be closed, but you can just find alternate parkings spots,” he offered. “If you have to, you could use the hospital garages that you’re permitted to use. No one ever uses them, but you can use them if you have to.”
There are actually about 3,000 spaces on campus; 2,000 are on the central campus and the remaining thousand are in the north campus area by Indiana Ave. According to Eggleton, there’s about 500 open parking spaces “at any given time,”
Including spring and annual passes, there 13,493 currently active ST passes. But not everyone is on campus at once, which allows IUPUI’s parking to function.
“It does look like an oversell, but again you have to take into account that there are those periods of time where class schedules are completely different,” Eggleton said. “So It’s not that we’ve oversold, it’s just we make adjustments for those different class schedules.”
But regardless of garage closures, the poor souls with Saturday finals, or those who just want to study, need to be prepared for changes in their parking routines.