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ECU updates on a 14th Street parking lot have focused on creating an eco-friendly renovation. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)


TURNING BLACKTOP GREEN

ECU updates parking lot in sustainable way

March 8, 2013

By Alexa DeCarr
ECU News Services


A parking lot on 14th Street recently received a face-lift to better serve undergraduate students residing on College Hill.

The new A2 lot, located on 14th Street across from Belk Residence Hall, was previously a gravel lot. It had nine entrances, no clear traffic flow pattern and outdated lighting, said Deb Garfi, director of Parking and Transportation Services.

Administrators named the project “Simple, Smart, Sustainable” to help guide sustainability and eco-friendly renovation.

The design for the new, concrete lot consolidated the nine entrances into two defined entrances – which Garfi said simplified traffic flow and pedestrian patterns – improved the quality of lighting and called for purple and gold emergency call boxes. The lot features 206 marked spaces surrounded by a new fence.

Garfi said the lot was updated to keep students safer and create more parking spaces.

“We will be losing parking when Belk Residence Hall comes down and the new (residence hall) is built,” Garfi said. “We needed to prepare for that loss of space.”

It also features an infiltration basin, used to manage storm water runoff and prevent flooding.

“The goal was to make it sustainable, and I really love what they did with it,” Garfi said. “Some trees could not be saved before the project started but we were able to save a lot of large trees in the process, including a 70-year-old American Holly tree.”

The parking lot is also being used as an extension of classroom learning.

Dr. Eban Bean, a professor in the Department of Engineering, is using the lot to measure how much water from the parking lot infiltrates the groundwater and how it affects the quality of that water. He will then compare this to water from a conventional, impervious parking lot.

Bean said an undergraduate student is monitoring and managing the site.

The project began in the fall and the new lot opened up in January. A budget for the work was set at $850,000, but not all that funding will be used.

“Not everything has been paid for at this time, but I do know we will be coming in under budget,” Garfi said.

It was paid for through Parking and Transportation funds.

The parking lot has been entered into a contest organized by the International Parking Institute. The winners will be announced at the IPI Annual Conference and Expo on May 19-22 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

“The winner doesn’t get money or anything, just recognition,” Garfi said. “But to get recognized would be a really big honor.”

Garfi said there are no plans to allow tailgating during football season in the lot.