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UNH moves forward with parking garage

By Lori Gula

The Transportation Policy Committee has asked an outside consultant to conduct a formal feasibility study for a parking garage on campus that it hopes will confirm the results of an in-house analysis completed late last year.

The feasibility study will allow the UNH administration to have a complete plan for constructing a parking garage, currently estimated to cost $15 million for 800 spaces.

The feasibility study -- except for the geotechnical work stalled because the ground is frozen -- could wrap up by the end of March. Possible sites for a parking facility are under review in the context of the Master Plan update process now under way, said Candace Corvey, vice president for finance and administration.

In conducting its internal analysis, the TPC contacted a number of municipalities, companies, and consultants who have experience with building a parking garage. The analysis determined the parameters for a parking garage, and a number of issues were evaluated, including location and design, expected demand, and cost.

The results revealed that the annual cost of operating the proposed parking garage would be about $300 to $400 a space. The study also found that to maintain reasonable parking fees for parking garage users, costs would have to be distributed throughout the system. The complete study is available online at www.unh.edu/parking/TPC/all_docs/structure%20feasibility.pdf.

"We are not expecting any surprises out of the feasibility study. We hope that it further refines and confirms work that has been done," said Stephen Pesci, special projects manager with Campus Planning and Transportation Services. "We then will be able to refine our proposal for a full transportation system with a parking structure."

Garage is tied to new parking permit fees

A revised parking permit fee structure, which divides the campus into three zones with corresponding permit fees, would be used to cover the capital and yearly operational costs of a parking garage.

The TPC is expected to vote on a final parking permit price proposal at its Jan. 30 meeting. The proposal is expected to generate sufficient new revenue to enable construction of a garage, but that expectation will have to be tested against the results of the feasibility study.

"Any change in the parking permit prices for faculty is subject to negotiation with the AAUP. It is not our intention to alter the prices for staff in advance of the faculty," Corvey said.

The current faculty contract expires June 30, 2003.

Last year, the committee recommended UNH implement a tiered parking system that would divide campus into parking zones. Parking permit fees would differentiate depending on parking zone and permit type.

The initial proposal outlined a range of proposed parking fees, from $1,000 for a reserved, core-lot space to $400 for a nonreserved core lot to $50 for a West Edge Lot permit. The current price is $32 a year for faculty and staff.

The campus community reacted negatively to the magnitude of the proposed permit prices. As a result, the TPC has been working to revise the parking fee structure so that it balances fairness and choice with the ability to support a parking garage.

"We all have to participate and buy into this -- faculty, staff and students -- or else it does not go forward. We are trying to balance equity and fairness with resource needs. We don't want to create a class system. We want to give everyone choices, and those the choices are based on convenience and cost," Pesci said.

A-Lot is ideal location

A-Lot is the most likely location (pending the outcome of the Master Plan update process) for the parking garage because it provides maximum access to the planned Loop Road, Whittemore Center, rail station, football stadium, Field House, and future performing arts center, the TPC report concluded. At the same time, it allows for reasonable access to core campus.

"Building the facility in A-Lot would also allow us to generate revenue from special event parking that can support UNH's transportation system and offset the costs for faculty, staff, and students," Pesci said.

B-Lot is considered an alternative location close to the academic core, but Pesci said it is unsuitable for a large-scale garage, which would significantly impact traffic on surrounding streets. One option under consideration is a parking deck -- a one-story parking facility that would double the number of spaces in B-Lot.

Finally, the committee said the Campus Master Plan may identify new sites for a garage, but it is unlikely that UNH would be able to find new land closer to core campus than A or B lots.

"There are many hurdles still to overcome if we are to succeed in adding a parking facility on this campus. I believe that most faculty, staff, and students would welcome additional parking capacity on or near core campus. Along with other improvements in our transportation system, such as improved reliability and frequency of shuttle service, the facility could truly improve the quality of life in this campus. But, it will all come down to money and to the willingness of ALL users of the system to pay a fair price," Corvey said.




Support Northeast Passage by hitting the slopes

By Sharon Keeler

Join skiers and boarders of all abilities at Attitash Bear Peak for a day of fun, and raise money for a good cause at the same time.

Northeast Passage, a UNH program and an affiliate of Disabled Sports USA that provides recreational opportunities for people with disabilities, is holding its annual Winter Carnival/Ski-A-Thon tomorrow.

Raise a minimum of $100 and get free skiing for the day, along with lunch, après ski party, T-shirts and prizes.

Team packages for four adults are $300, and family fun packages are $300 for two adult lift tickets and two children's lift tickets.

The more money people contribute, the more prizes they qualify for, including backpacks, skis, snowboards, and Northeast Passage prize packages. Additional prizes, including a kayak, will be raffled.

Grand prizes for the top fundraisers include golf and accommodation packages.

Sponsors for the event include Fire on the Mountain Ski & Sport of Dover, 100.3 WHEB of Portsmouth, Granite Sports magazine and Bottom Line Technologies of Portsmouth.

Skiers and snowboarders can register online at www.nepassage.org, or call 862-0070.




Fire lanes are not convenient parking spaces

By Ronald P. O'Keefe, Fire Chief

I recently saw a news article about a fire in Boston where access roads to the building were blocked, delaying the fire departments' arrival to the scene, which resulted in the tragic loss of human life. Why was the access road blocked? Were there no other parking spaces? Was it just pure laziness?

Fire lanes have been an important part of fire protection for decades and are located throughout Durham and the UNH campus. What is a fire lane and why do we need them? The National Fire Protection Association Standard #1, Fire Prevention Code defines a fire lane as "the road or other means developed to allow access and operational setup for fire-fighting and rescue apparatus."

Unfortunately in my business, many of our codes and standards were derived from tragic events, which created a large loss of life or a large loss of property. Throughout the decades as our cities and towns have developed and become more congested, the need for fire lanes has grown. Fire lanes are critical for fire and emergency medical vehicles to access buildings quickly during an emergency.

Blocking fire lanes renders buildings vulnerable to tragic fire loss if the fire department cannot place effective hose streams into operation quickly. Lives may be lost if firefighters cannot enter a building quickly or reach a building with aerial ladders. Someone may suffer more because the emergency medical crew had to walk farther with their equipment. Please remember that all fire lanes are posted with signage to warn motorists not to park there.

There are many fire lanes and roadways, which present constant problems to us with access. Some of those on campus are the lane in front of the Field House, the lanes and sidewalks to the Whittemore Center, and the access road to the Memorial Union Building. We have these same issues in town as well. The access roadway around the Community Church, the front of the Mill Road Plaza, and the access lane to the outdoor ice rink.

I am appealing to every UNH faculty member, staff member, and student as well as every citizen of Durham. The next time you need to run into a building for "just a second" or need to hit the ATM for some cash and consider parking in a fire lane, keep in mind you have now created a hazard for people in the building and for firefighters by obstructing the fire lane.

Think of the driver/operator maneuvering a 40-foot long, 31-ton fire truck down a crowded lane and the nozzle man who now has to stretch an additional 150 feet of hose or carry a 35-foot extension ladder while wearing 40 pounds of gear to the building because of a blocked fire lane.

Please park legally and support the fire service by not blocking access to buildings and it might even prevent you from receiving a ticket from our local police.




Sidore lecture series explores components of one's identity

The focus of this year's Sidore Lecture Series, "Educating Bodies: Culture, Power, and Socialization," came about through a desire on the part of faculty in the humanities to devote a discussion to the ways in which education and cultural socialization work together to create identity in all of its complex guises.

As a result, the series features speakers who have devoted much thought, research, and activism to understanding the ways in which gender and sexual identity, physical ability and age, religion and spirituality, class and economic status, and any number of other factors form a matrix of ideology and power into which individuals are born and subsequently socialized as culturally specific beings in an increasingly globalized world.

The schedule of speakers and events has been designed with the dual aspiration of speaking to both the physical and the theoretical aspects of education, socialization, and identity formation. The lectures will begin Wednesday, Feb. 5 and run through April 23.

In the first lecture, Greg Mortenson, executive director of the Central Asia Institute, will present "Three Cups of Tea: Cross-Cultural Lessons from Pakistan and Afghanistan." On March 5, Ifi Amadiume, professor of religion at Dartmouth College, will discuss "Culture and Religious Traditions of Gender and Development in Africa: Gendering Civil Society and the State," and on March 26 Martha Nussbaum, a professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago Law School, will talk about education for women in India in a lecture titled "Women's Education: A Global Challenge."

Jonathan Silin, a member of the graduate faculty at the Bank Street College of Education, will talk about aging, illness, death, and early childhood education in "Who Can Speak? Silence, Voice, and Pedagogy" on April 9.

The series will end April 23 when Adrienne Asch, the Henry R. Luce Professor in Biology, Ethics, and the Politics of Human Reproduction at Wellesley College, discusses "Surgically Shaping Children: Questions of Appearance and Reality."