The North Parking Lot is set to close permanently prior to the beginning of the spring semester on Jan 28, 2013. The closure is due to the preparation of the construction of the General Academic Building No. 1 (GAB), which will be located on the site.
The GAB, according to Chancellor J. Keith Motley, “is designed to meet the needs of our growing student population and increases academic offering, enhances our teaching and student environment.” It will serve a large cross-section of students, faculty and staff through diverse programming that includes state-of-the-art general purpose classrooms, specialized teaching and performance spaces, faculty and staff offices, a café, student lounge and study spaces.
To compensate for the loss of the North Lot parking areas, the university will open the Bayside Parking Lot on Mount Vernon Street. This parking lot will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. No car can be parked overnight.
Meanwhile, the parking garage under the Campus Center will remain open, but the current entrance will be closed. Traffic will proceed in both directions through the current exit, and handicapped parking spaces in the North Lot will be moved to other accessible parking areas.
Dewayne Lehman, Director of Communications, and Steve Martinson, Director of Transportation Services, ensure students that finding parking spots will not be an issue. “We will try to make this experience as positive as we can,” stated Martinson. "The operation and the performance will be monitored and evaluated on a daily basis. If it happens that something needs to change or improve, immediate action will be taken.”
Phi Tran, a junior majoring in environmental health science calls the move to the Bayside Lot “bad news.”
Tran drives from Quincy to school every day. He complained that it will take students longer to get to school because of the shuttle they need to take from the Bayside Lot. “This thing will affect us greatly,” he said. Tran added that there is almost no reason to get a semester pass ($342.00 if on term bill). As he put it, “It is now better to park your car somewhere around Dorchester instead of at the parking at Bayside and still have to take a shuttle.”
Martinson acknowledged that adapting to the new situation will be challenging for the first couple of weeks. But once the students get used to it, he believes they will love it. He also pointed out that Bayside is nothing new to UMass Boston community members. “We have been using the Bayside [Lot] for years as overflow parking. We will simply start to utilize it regularly in the spring semester.”
The Bayside Lot contains 1,300 spaces with 20 handicapped spots. It is approximately three times larger than the North Lot. Martinson and Lehman are still encouraging students to make Bayside their lot of choice because parking spots are almost guaranteed.
A dedicated free shuttle bus, The Bayside Express, will be provided from Bayside to Campus (Shuttle No. 3). The Bayside Express will be running on the same schedule with Shuttle No. 1 from 7 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. every 6-7 minutes. “Students who park at Bayside need to be mindful of what bus they get in while they are on campus,” Holly Sutherland, Manager of Master Plan and Construction Communications, advised. Shuttle No. 3 is the one that goes to the Bayside Lot.