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A Lot About Parking

Front-Page News


Nota Bene

October 26, 2001

A Lot About Parking

Weary of circling campus for a parking space? Wondering where you will park when construction fences block your favorite spot? The offices of public safety and facilities management are serving up some good news for you: One hundred twenty parking spaces on the Pratt Hall tennis courts are scheduled to open at the end of October and be available through this academic year. The transformation of the tennis courts is one of several steps being taken to compensate for parking losses during campus construction; several additional measures are under way to add much-needed permanent parking space on campus.

According to Paul Ominsky, director of public safety, the number of students bringing cars to campus has risen by about fifty to seventy-five students per year for the past three or four years--the equivalent of about one parking lot per year. The resulting shortage of on-campus parking has led to more tickets for unauthorized parking and complaints from neighboring residents and businesses about MHC overflow. It also has been an obstacle in bringing large groups to Mount Holyoke's conference facilities.

Without attention, on-campus parking would become an even greater problem this year, says John Bryant, director of facilities management. Parking lot closures due to construction have already meant a loss of seventy-seven student spaces and forty-two faculty/staff spaces. When science center construction is in full swing, Bryant anticipates blocking a total of 150 spaces; by fall 2002, simultaneous construction work at Blanchard, Carr, and Shattuck will bring additional challenges.

Fortunately, Bryant and Ominsky have developed and instituted a three-phase plan to solve the parking problem, even the congestion created by multiple construction projects. Their work of phase one, now nearing completion, was guided by the work of Carol R. Johnson Associates, the landscape architecture firm that has just completed a comprehensive landscape-planning study for Mount Holyoke's Campus Master Planning Committee.

Anchoring phase one were two permanent lot expansions: An expansion of the parking lot at Gorse Child Study Center added eighty-one student parking spaces to the system this fall; a new parking lot at Kendall Sports Complex added seventy-three faculty/staff parking spaces this fall. In addition to providing daytime parking for the MHC community, these expansions provided parking for evening events and relieved concerns of neighbors and town leaders about the overflow of MHC cars onto surrounding streets. The Gorse and Kendall spaces have more than compensated for the spaces blocked by construction to date: 592 student spaces and 760 faculty/staff spaces are available this year, compared to 573 student spaces and 744 faculty/staff spaces last year.

Phase one also included short-term parking measures. In addition to establishing parking spaces on the Pratt tennis courts (those courts are scheduled to be removed during renovation of the Blanchard Campus Center), facilities management located a shuttle lot near South Hadley's Big Y to accommodate vehicles of contractors scheduled to work on campus construction projects. Public Safety worked with the Student Government Association to create a temporary lottery system that limited to 630 the number of parking decals available to students this year (814 were distributed last year).

In phase two, scheduled for summer 2002, facilities management expects to tackle expansions of one or more parking lots. Its goal is to add 120 to 150 spaces by fall 2002, just in time to replace the 120 Pratt Hall tennis court spaces that will be eliminated during Blanchard construction. Among those lots under consideration for expansion are the Dickinson House parking lot, the Pratt Hall parking lot, the Mary Lyon Hall parking lot (west of College Street), the Ham/MacGregor Hall parking lot, and the equestrian center parking lot.

Phase three is a potential phase of parking improvements that could develop after the Campus Master Planning Committee compiles and evaluates its various studies about building, landscaping, and traffic/parking. With the committee's final report in hand, Bryant and Ominsky again will evaluate parking practices and needs. As they look into the future of Mount Holyoke's land use, landscaping, and external appearance, they will propose whatever work is necessary to continue establishing well-configured, safe, well-lit parking lots that meet the needs of the entire Mount Holyoke community.

For more information about parking, contact the Office of Public Safety or visit its Web site at

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Copyright © 2001 Mount Holyoke College. This page created by Don St. John and maintained by Jennifer Adams. Last modified on November 8, 2001.

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