New garage eases parking crunch
Students, staff and faculty benefit from 1,200-space
By Dan Heuchert
Sometime shortly after
5:30 a.m. on Nov. 12, someone drove a car down the rock-wall-lined
entrance to the new Ivy/Emmet Parking garage, passing over a living
stream. As the car eased to the garage’s entrance, the “ZipTag”
attached to the rear-view mirror sent a signal, and the black-and-yellow
gate raised up. The driver then found parking nirvana: a choice
of 1,200 empty spaces.
The garage was finally open for business.
The 600-foot-long, five-story structure is set on 4.5 acres in
a natural, woodland landscape that resembles a park more than
a city center for cars. The project’s $15.75 million budget
included $1.5 million for site work. The main entranceway on Ivy
Road is lined by a curving rock wall, and a stream — which
construction workers report is already home to minnows and frogs
— flows through stands of trees and what will be a native-grass
and wildflower meadow.
stream is part of a cutting-edge regional storm-water management
system that also includes a detention basin to hold backed-up
water during heavy downpours, then gradually release it as the
Scott Maulding, project superintendent for the garage’s
chief contractor, Donley’s Inc. of Cleveland, and a veteran
of 23 garage projects, ranks the facility among the top five that
he has worked on, due to its design and setting.
The garage’s location, design and impact on local traffic
patterns were the objects of great concern from nearby city residents.
In the end, the site’s neighbors served on a committee with
University and Charlottesville representatives to formally offer
their input. The result of the process was an improved design,
said Leonard W. Sandridge, U.Va.’s executive
vice president and chief operating officer.
“Many people worked relentlessly to design and construct
a garage that is attractive, safe and sensitive to the concerns
of our neighbors,” he said. “We believe that we have
achieved that objective.”
The garage, which took 14 months to build, replaces surface parking
lost to the John Paul Jones Arena project, and will provide parking
for football and basketball games and other major University events.
At all other times, around-the-clock access will be by permit
As of Nov. 11, more than 800 Zip Tags had been issued to blue,
S, S2 and S6 permit-holders, who include U.Va. faculty, staff
With the opening, University Transit Service altered its Blue,
Green and Central Grounds Shuttle routes to provide regular service
to Central Grounds and the Health System. A permanent shelter
just outside the building provides cover for commuters as they
await a ride.
The garage’s opening triggered the closing of the 300 remaining
spaces in the North Massie Road lot to facilitate arena construction.
Initially, the traffic signals at the Ivy Road garage entrance
Emmet-Ivy-University and Ivy-Copeley-Alderman intersections will
be hand-calibrated to improve traffic flow. By Nov. 28, University
and city officials hope to have signals at nine nearby intersections
synchronized, and the city has plans to synchronize signals citywide
by spring. The University contributed approximately $40,000 toward
that $250,000 effort.
Maulding, the project manager, lauded the city’s efficiency
in responding to inquiries and called the cooperation between
the city and University “excellent. Not pretty good —
it’s been excellent.”
The garage offers panoramic views, particularly from its upper
levels, and from three glass elevators and three glass-enclosed
stairwells. In response to neighbors’ concerns, the interior
lighting is specially designed to minimize spillover into adjacent
neighborhoods at night.
Six “blue-light” emergency phones on each level connect
directly to the University Police, who can pinpoint a caller’s
location. There are 25 handicapped-access parking spaces.