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Garage Will Ease Campus Parking Crunch

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Posted on August 5, 2010

Click here to view construction photos of the Vulcan Garage

California University's rapid enrollment growth brings more vehicles to campus each year. Beginning this fall, many of them will be parked in the Vulcan Garage.

The five-story parking facility beside Manderino Library has room for 661 vehicles.  With plenty of space for campus visitors, the garage will be open for Move-In Day on Aug. 26 and ready for returning students, faculty and staff when classes resume on Aug. 30.

"Everything will be operational," said Michael Peplinski, Cal U's director of physical plant. "We may have a few loose ends to tie up, but we expect the garage to be ready on schedule."

The gated garage will be open to drivers who have registered for spaces inside, as well as visitors and members of the University community who choose to pay by the hour.

Drivers can enter the garage from East Alley, where the road has been widened and turning lanes added to ease traffic congestion. A second entrance is located near the intersection of Sixth and Park streets.

Accessible to people with disabilities, Vulcan Garage includes two elevators. Motion sensors control high-efficiency LED lighting throughout the structure, and emergency phones are available at every level.

Ceiling height is 8 feet, 2 inches, the standard height for multilevel garages.

Drivers who pay by the hour will find pay stations conveniently located on the garage's first, third and fourth levels. Anyone who forgets to stop at the pay station will be able to pay with a credit card when exiting the garage.

Until its permanent headquarters is completed, the Parking and Transportation Office will be located on the garage's first level. The office also will be accessible from inside Manderino Library.

Outside the garage, pedestrians will find that grading has been adjusted and sidewalks have been installed. Landscaping integrates the Vulcan Garage into the overall campus.

Other improvements

Near the garage, improvements on East Alley and Sixth Street are part of the Loop Road project, which eventually will direct traffic around the campus perimeter.

The first phase, to be completed this summer, included filling a "dip" at the intersection of Sixth and Hickory streets with more than 4 feet of soil. Raising the road surface required adjusting curbs and storm drains on Sixth Street, as well.

"The sudden change in elevation meant buses couldn't navigate the intersection," Peplinski explained. "To bring buses through, we needed to level and widen the roadway."

The University has taken care to maintain parking areas behind the residence halls, and it will maintain a temporary gravel lot with about 66 spaces at the end of Sixth Street. For now, the Loop Road dead-ends near Gallagher Hall with an expanded lot behind Gallagher that adds almost 30 spaces. The next phase of construction will extend the Loop Road behind the Convocation Center. 

Eventually, traffic will circle a pedestrian-friendly main campus.

In the meantime, a parking lot with 89 spaces is being created beside Watkins Hall. Two trees - a small beech and a flowering cherry - were relocated to suitable sites on campus. Under the parking lot's surface, a basin 12 feet deep will collect runoff and allow rainwater to trickle into the river.

The Beazell Street railroad crossing, near the Eberly Science and Technology Center, also is scheduled for completion this fall. Once this crossing provides access to the River Lot, the Third Street rail crossing will close.

Hundreds of laborers and skilled trades workers have played a part in the construction projects, Peplinski said.

The result?

"When classes resume, there should be plenty of room for parking."

Did you know?

  • About 50,000 cubic yards of rock and soil were removed during excavation for the Vulcan Garage. To widen East Alley near the garage, workers moved water, sewer and natural gas lines; telephone poles were removed and most electrical lines were re-routed underground.
  • The garage is built from 70,000-pound slabs of concrete that were precast in Virginia and assembled on site. More than 1,800 cubic yards of concrete were poured for the foundation, and more than 900 cubic yards were needed to finish the lower level of the garage.
  • Vulcan Garage has 661 spaces on five levels, including spaces for campus visitors. Automated gates will regulate access at both the East Alley and Sixth Street entrances.
Click here to view construction photos of the Vulcan Garage