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As Liberty University continues to be blanketed with new and continuing construction projects, the administration will be making a slew of parking changes, primarily around the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall and Bailey Lot, which is between the baseball and football stadiums.
The Bailey Lot has 170 parking spaces blocked off because of construction. The Bailey area is a primary spot for change because of the new vehicular tunnel that is being constructed under the train tracks nearby, according to Vice President of Research and Analysis Richard Martin.
One of the biggest construction projects, which will help address the campus’s parking issues, is a new 1,400-car parking garage going up next to the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall, Martin said.
According to Martin, to make travel to and from Reber-Thomas and the parking garage, Reber-Thomas Drive will be converted into a two-lane road.
The parking spaces for cars and motorcycles along Reber-Thomas Drive will be relocated to the first row of Speakman near the bookstore, while the Zip Car spots will be moved to the Green Hall Transfer Center.
Martin said more changes are coming to the Reber-Thomas parking lot, as 200 parking spaces will be closed off, and the walkway between Reber-Thomas and the Bailey Lot will be shut down.
Zone 1 parking pass holders should not be greatly affected, according to Martin, even with a reduced number of parking spots.
“I expect to have enough zone 1 parking available for existing zone 1 permit holders on normal class days,” Martin said. “But things will be really tight after 10 a.m. Mondays-Thursdays.”
Martin said when there are a lot of guests, zone 1 parking may become unavailable during the afternoon, and permit holders may need to park elsewhere.
“During heavy visitor days, some zone 1 permit holders may find it necessary to park in Bailey or Doc’s Diner,” Martin said. “I would strongly recommend that Doc’s Diner or Liberty Mountain Drive parking area be used since the access into and out of Bailey will be limited by the vehicular tunnel project.”
According to Martin, the walking times should be relatively similar no matter which parking area mentioned above is chosen.
New parking permit assignments for zones one through four have been suspended until after College For a Weekend in November, according to Martin. He said the administration wants to make sure their response to construction and parking changes has been adequate before assigning new passes.
The hiatus on issuing of new parking passes has proven difficult for some. Liberty junior Mandy Wine expressed frustration that the only parking permit she is allowed to purchase is for the Residential Annex Park & Ride. Wine said she shares a carpool permit with her roommate but has wanted to get her own pass so she can drive to school with ease.
Martin said improvements are also planned for making the zone 4 parking lot on East Campus bigger and bringing more transit coverage to the area.
According to Martin, the new residence hall tower being built on Champion’s Circle should not account for a large increase in parking needs, as it is only replacing existing dorm rooms. Even so, Martin said, the new residence hall is next to the East Campus pedestrian tunnel, so students could park with ease in zone 4 if needed.