First years with cars will have to walk farther for parking than in years past.
Parking capacity for students, employees and visitors has been compromised as a result of the campus construction projects underway and increased visitor flow following the reopening of Baldwin Auditorium. Near the end of March, the decision was made to move first year parking to Smith Warehouse, which is about a five to ten minute walk from East Campus.
“We wanted to do what we could to keep freshmen as close as possible to East Campus,” said Sam Veraldi, director of parking and transportation. “Smith Warehouse was the best option.”
Approximately 50 events are already scheduled throughout the year at Baldwin, Veraldi said. In order to support audience parking for performances, the University opted for an alternative to undergraduate first years parking on East Campus, he added.
Though the majority of first years do not bring cars to campus, some who have are disappointed by the move.
“I think it’s very convenient having a car on campus,” first year Elizabeth Molinet said. “It gives you more independence, as you are not reliant on your friends who have a car or a somewhat unpredictable bus schedule. However, it’s frustrating to me that Duke would use Baldwin’s parking space for visitors and in turn, inconvenience their own students.”
Danny Nolan, a senior living off-campus with a car, also had a car his first year. He noted that parking was never an issue on East for him, as there were always spots available close to his Randolph residence halls where he lived.
A roaming security guard will be stationed at all times in the Smith Warehouse area. Duke’s buses also run until 2am on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 4am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 1am on Sundays. For individuals who need transportation after these times, Duke Vans will be available when the buses are not.
Parking permits for Smith Warehouse cost $291 annually—the same as red zone permits last year that allowed first years to park on East Campus last year. The available East Campus parking is now used to accommodate graduate students and employees, including student resident assistants and costs $129 annually.
Changing the cost for the Smith parking permit was discussed as a possibility, but administrators decided that though the new location may be more inconvenient than parking on East, it is as convenient as possible given construction and other circumstances, Veraldi said.
The number of first years with cars on campus does seem to be lower than in previous years, though not significantly, he added.
In addition to East Campus parking changes, there have been some changes to parking in the Blue Zone. Because spaces have been lost to construction around campus, the University needed to find another place for graduate students and students living off-campus to park, Veraldi said.
Veraldi noted that the Blue Zone was reorganized by putting the commuter population in zones one, two and three, which are closest to Wallace Wade Stadium and provide easy access.
“I like the changes to parking in Blue Zone,” Nolan said. “It makes sense to have commuters able to park closer, since they’d presumably walk to their car more often than those who parked overnight.”
With a number of construction projects underway, other parking changes are being considered throughout campus. Veraldi noted that given the capacity lost, he and his team have done their best to provide students with easy access to their cars and other transportation.
“It could be worse,” Molinet said, “but at the same time, it could be better.”