Parking lot 1, across from the North Union, will be closed permanently this summer to make room for a hotel-conference center complex, which will include a small parking garage for visitors and guests. About 400 parking spaces will be lost and several changes are in the works to accommodate faculty, staff and students.

Some questions already have started coming in, and Inside NAU answers some today and will continue on a regular basis. The questions below are actual queries from readers, but some have been condensed from similar questions. If you have a question about parking changes, send it toInside@nau.edu.

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QUESTION: Why not hold off closing P1 until the parking structure on Riordan and Knoles is completed in October?

ANSWER: Flagstaff’s prime construction season is nearly over in October, and a delay until then would slow the project down until next spring. Construction costs are skyrocketing—mainly because of the price of materials—and no plateau is in sight. Any delay in construction would add considerable costs to the project.

 

Q: Why is the conversion of the tennis courts into parking one of the options being considered? It seems very costly for a temporary problem and eliminates a valued student recreation option.

Why not consider incentives for faculty and staff to not bring their cars to campus? If a majority of the displaced cars belong to commuter students (which, according to Parking Services, is true), then you can manage the balance of 150 displaced faculty and staff in a different manner. If NAU offered free mass transit passes to impacted employees, I would be willing to bet you could be spared the expense and loss of taking down the tennis courts.

A: The tennis courts near Lumberjack Stadium are being eliminated to add 150 parking spaces as close as possible to the affected area. The parking changes are not short term, and finding suitable parking for north campus faculty, staff and students is a priority. The stadium lot with the tennis court spaces (P7A) will be the largest lot closest to the former P1 and should remain in place at least two years or until a second garage is built on north campus.

The fieldhouse next to the University Union, however, is being reworked to add tennis courts inside, which will accommodate student recreation and Athletics.

In keeping with the goals of the university’s master plan, the upcoming parking changes are only the beginning of a new era in driving and parking around the NAU campus. Some options are being adopted immediately, such as the elimination of “All-Commuter” student permits and restricting resident parking to their lots between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. These two measures should bring about changes in driving and parking habits. Further changes are being investigated, and incentives for leaving your car at home will be explored.

 

Q: Northland Preparatory Academy will have its senior graduation at Prochnow Auditorium on June 3. Will lot 1 be closed by this date? What parking suggestions do you have for this date?

A: P1 won’t close before July 1, but the exact date is still to be determined. Any events scheduled for the North Union or Prochnow should not be affected before then.

 

Q: Regarding the article in your May 3 newsletter. “Plans are being finalized to immediately return about 300 spaces in various locations around north campus. The central campus parking garage, with 600 parking spots, is scheduled to open in October….” Is this the same parking garage located on the corner of Riordan and Knoles, P14? If so, I found this on the Parking Services web site: “P14closure, southwest corner of Knoles and Riordan Ranch. Construction of 900-space parking garage …” What happened to the 300 other parking spots?

A: Yes, the central campus parking garage is P14, which is now under construction with a planned opening in October. The original plan called for 900 spaces, but some design changes, including a bridge over the newly aligned Riordan Road, resulted in fewer spots. The parking garage will hold close to 800 spots. Two hundred of those spaces will be reserved for resident parking, which was not pointed out in the article you cite. The other 600 will be available in October for off-campus students, faculty, staff and some visitors.

 

Q: Would you please address where there might be handicapped parking for employees? I have two employees who have difficulty walking.

A: Parking Services is evaluating the area around the North Union to determine how many and where handicapped stalls should be designated.