By Commuter Services

On Monday, Aug. 24, the university opened two new parking garages. Although they both still need some final cosmetic work and the garages still appear to be under construction, commuters have more than 1,000 new parking places available now. The largest of the two garages, located in the Business Loop, is called the Central Garage. It has over 800 parking spaces and is the first garage on campus available to students – in addition to staff and faculty. The second garage is called the Northwest Garage and is located east of Naval Sciences. This garage will provide parking primarily for faculty and staff, as well as visitors attending evening performances on the north side of campus.

Construction of the Central Garage started in June of 2014 and was scheduled for completion earlier in the summer, but due to utility problems that couldn’t be avoided, the opening was delayed for several weeks. Layton Construction, the general contractor, committed to opening the garage in time for school – and their work over the past few weeks to meet that commitment was phenomenal and successful.

When people start looking at the number of parking spaces, they think, “Wait a second. If you built an 800 stall garage, why did it only increase the number of spaces by 550?” The reason being, there were already 300 parking spaces in the surface lot. That’s why building parking garages is such an expensive proposition; the cost of a parking garage in this climate is a little over $20,000 per space. We just built 836 spaces, but only gained 550 more than what we started with. This brings the actual cost to more than $30,000 per space. People often ask why we don’t solve the parking problem by building four or five garages – the price tag of $30,000 per space is one of the main reasons.

Other reasons why we don’t build more parking is because garages occupy land that could be used for academic and research opportunities. We try to find the appropriate balance between parking spaces and the University’s goals. Two of those goals require that we consider other options than more parking and traffic congestion. We want to help the people of Utah improve their health and quality of life; while ensuring the long term viability of the University of Utah. That means we still need to promote cycling, walking, and mass transit over single occupant vehicles.

The new garages provide an abundance of covered, convenient parking. We hope that they will be an asset to those who need to park on campus.

Contact Commuter Services regarding permit information for both parking garages.