School of Mines to build its first parking garage

Some residents upset about construction of multi-level structure

Posted 2/21/17

Because of the increasing difficulty of finding student parking at Colorado School of Mines, the university is in the preliminary planning phase of building a new, multi-level parking structure on campus.

“We want them to be able to come to one …

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School of Mines to build its first parking garage

Some residents upset about construction of multi-level structure

Posted

Because of the increasing difficulty of finding student parking at Colorado School of Mines, the university is in the preliminary planning phase of building a new, multi-level parking structure on campus.

“We want them to be able to come to one parking location where they know they can get a spot, rather than traversing through the neighborhoods hunting for parking,” said Kirsten Volpi, Mines’ executive vice president and CEO.

The parking structure will not only accommodate the burgeoning student population of the past decade, Volpi said, but also provide space for members of the general public who attend campus and community events at the school.

The structure will replace spaces lost to future construction on campus; accommodate cars that can no longer park in downtown Golden because of the city’s new parking system, which has stricter time limitations on free parking; and will support event parking such as football games and Jefferson Symphony Orchestra concerts.

“The city supports Mines’ efforts to manage parking and increase capacity,” said Steve Glueck, the City of Golden’s community and economic development director. “Construction of a well planned and located parking structure can help both campus operations and likely lessen impacts on adjacent neighborhoods and downtown Golden.”

Currently, the 6,000studentColorado School of Mines has 3,770 parking spaces on campus, including street parking. Just over 3,000 student permits are sold, which includes parking in general, commuter, resident and Mines Park lots. In addition, about 1,200 permits are sold to the school’s faculty and staff.

The four-level garage will be the campus’s first parking structure and will accommodate a minimum of 600 new parking spaces. The goal is to have it open for the 2019 fall semester.

Two sites are being considered: Proposed site A is located at 13th and Maple streets, across from the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum. Proposed site B is at 19th and Elm streets, near the roundabout.

Two other possible locations were eliminated: One just east of the Green Center, 924 16th St., on campus, because it was too small, and the other near 18th Street and Washington Avenue because it was too far away from campus resources. The school also wants future development at that site to be more aesthetically appealing.

Both sites A and B have pros and cons, said Curtis Rowe, a traffic engineer with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., who, along with David Schafer, the principal architect at OZ Architecture, presented the two site proposals during a Feb. 16 community meeting on the parking structure.

Site A would provide better pedestrian access to campus resources, but would potentially increase traffic in neighborhoods on 11th and 13th streets. Site B would have less impact on the flow of traffic in residential areas, but students would still have to cross 19th Street to access the campus, and another lane would be needed on 19th Street to accommodate additional traffic flow.

Although Golden residents realize the campus has parking needs, some believe the proposed sites would have adverse effects to the Golden lifestyle.

Resident Jeanie Maurer would encourage the school to explore other options, such as a location where a parking lot already exists.

“Both plans A and B would create gridlock at the roundabout at Elm and 19th, choking off the main commute route for local traffic,” Maurer said.

Site A would cause even more problems in the neighborhoods on 11th, 12th and 13th streets from Washington Avenue to Maple Street, Maurer said.

“This increase will negatively affect the livability, and most importantly, the safety of young children,” Maurer said. “In addition, this will change the historic feel of the neighborhood. People and small tours like to walk this historic neighborhood to enjoy the quiet tranquility of tree-lined streets and the slower pace of days gone by. There aren’t many places in the Denver area to find that.”

Maurer, along with about 15 other community members, including city government representatives, attended the Feb. 16 meeting.

Colorado School of Mines hosted the meeting. A previous, better-attended community meeting was held Jan. 31, Volpi said. The university also held two meetings to inform the Mines community about the parking structure.

The School of Mines is a highly respected engineering school and has the funding resources to find a positive solution to its parking problem, Maurer said.

“They are listening to resident input,” Maurer said. “Please let them know your thoughts about this before it quietly becomes a done deal. Help CSM take the opportunity to be a good neighbor.”

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