New Parking Deck Spaces Available: Rappahannock River Parking Area Ready for Students

by   Posted on September 14th, 2009 in Uncategorized

Yasmin Tadjdeh, Assistant News Editor

The new Rappahannock River Parking Deck, which opened this fall, provides the Fairfax campus with an additional 2,650 parking spaces over its 789,000 square foot facility, accordng to George Mason University’s Office of Facilities’ website.

However, the deck that was constructed to help alleviate crowded parking lots has opened to lackluster interest.

“Personally, I think sales are a little below expectations,” said Josh Cantor, Director of Parking and Transportation at Mason, “but [we] also realize that it will take some time to reach capacity as students re-adjust to campus and as resident students get into new patterns. We have seen some [people] that initially purchased general lot passes come in and upgrade as they were willing to pay the difference for the guarantee and peace of mind of not having to worry about where to look for parking.”

According to Cantor, as of the morning of Sept. 8, only 475 reserved student permits and 50 faculty and staff reserved permits had been purchased.

“I expect [permit sales] to pick up a bit as the new Police Headquarters opens and the new Admin Building, to be named University Hall, opens in January 2011. [It] is being built on the site of Lot G, which will close in mid November to begin construction,” said Cantor.

One unique feature to the deck is that level one and two are open to general lot permit holders, however, according to Cantor, these spots are not being taken advantage of.

“I would say . . . the general lot spaces . . . are being underutilized. Last week, we had 950 spaces available, despite signs at the large surface lots, like Lot K, informing people of their availability.

“We sent out an e-mail to all general lot permit holders . . . reminding them that we have the spaces in [the] open area of the deck, and we even have signs outside to tell them how many spaces we have available,” said Cantor.

Yet, students have yet to fill up the levels.

“As some of our staffing demand eases, we will be placing staff over by Lot K at times, probably Tuesday [and] Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to keep people from circling that lot and direct them over to the deck,” said Cantor.

Freshman applied computer science major Scott Doughton said, “I typically park in [the] general lots, mainly A or L . . . I learned [today] that I could park at Rappahannock . . . however, it is quite [far] from my classes, thus I will probably only park there Tuesday and Thursday when it is hard to find parking in the general lots.”

In comparison with the other decks, some students have opted for the more familiar Sandy Creek Parking Deck pass.

Junior business major Eileen Ciliberto said, “I have the Sandy Creek evening pass. I thought about getting the Rappahannock pass, but the price was way too expensive and it’s too far away from my classes.

Sandy Creek is very close to my classes [which are in the evening], so it’s also for safety reasons.”

Members of the commuter community at Mason may still find crowded lots when pulling into Mason, however, once properly utilized, the Rappahannock River Parking Deck should help clear cluttered lots.

“It’s often very tough to get people to break their old habits as they circle lots that fill early and learn to look elsewhere—and preferably not waste time in the first place looking when it’s been advised that the lot will fill,” said Cantor.

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