EMU to spend nearly $5M in five years to fix deteriorating parking lots
Eastern Michigan University has created a comprehensive parking plan that will put nearly $5 million toward parking lot improvements in five years.
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
"Prior to our five-year plan, there just wasn't any plan," said John Donegan, EMU's chief officer of facilities. "The parking lots were put down initially and then there was no forward thinking in regards to preventative maintence plans."
Of EMU's 59 parking lots, 11 are in poor condition and in need of serious improvements. The school has categorized another 23 lots as 'fair' and in need of improvements before they deteriorate further. Lots in poor and fair condition have potholes, cracks and drainage issues, making winter snowplowing difficult and costly.
"Obviously they went into disrepair," Donegan continued."There was a lack of ownership."
That's changing, he said.
The five-year, $4.86 million plan, which extends until fiscal 2017, includes the replacement of eight lots and the restoration of five lots. Of the 11 lots listed in poor condition, five are scheduled for a large-scale replacement or restoration.
Michael Hague, EMU's director of business services, says the school would replace more of its poor lots if doing so wasn't cost prohibitive.
"We don’t look at the worst lots, but lots that we can extend the life of for the most reasonable amount of dollars," he explained. "There are a lot of lots that are in very poor shape that we are not going to be able to get to right away."
Donegan said the high cost of asphalt, combined with Michigan's freezing winter temperatures and heavy precipitation, have made consistent maintenance difficult and expensive for a department that largely supports itself through self-generated funds such as parking fees.
Since 2009, however, EMU has begun restoring and replacing its lots more aggressively. In a span of three years, seven lots of been improved. In the recent parking plan, EMU classified 11 lots as in excellent or very good condition.
Most recently, EMU spent $856,000 to replace its Bowen Field House parking lot. That replacement involved site improvements and extensive storm water drainage improvements.
"We've come a long way," Donegan said. "if you take a look of the condition of our lots now, they’re in better shape then they’ve been in past ... years."
This year, EMU raised commuter parking per semester by one-third, from $75 in fall of 2010 to $100 in fall 2011. Parking for non-contract faculty was raised by $40, to $144 a year.
The increase, Hague said, is part of an effort to pay for parking improvements. However, the university is asking the state for money in its annual capital outlay request to contribute to the repairs and speed them up.
Already, EMU has garnered an extra $150,000 a year to pay for improvements. That money will in part go toward plans to seal and re-stripe the majority of EMU's lots every three years. .
"The replacement of these lots can get into the hundreds of thousands of dollars," Donegan said. "We want to maintain it and extend it's life as much as possible."
EMU this year also installed automated pay kiosks in its five pay lots. Those machines eliminate the need for personnel to man the pay lots, reducing expenses.
EMU freshman Amber Resseguie says she's noticed the poorly kept lots.
"They have a lot of bumps and potholes," she said. "I've hit the curb once because ... if you hit a bump the wrong way, it can push your car into the curb."
Donegan said he can sympathize with students' concerns.
"When you have students who pay for parking, employees who pay for parking and guests who pay for parking ... you need to provide a good product," he said.
Other students, like freshman Brianna Moore, say the condition of the lots doesn't bother them.
"I haven't really noticed," Moore said.
Below is the school's five-year plan:
- Replacement of Bowman lot (poor condition) in fiscal 2013 for $280,000
- Restoration of Roosevelt lot (fair condition) in fiscal 2013 for $120,000
- Replacement of McKenny lot (fair condition) in fiscal 2014 for $825,000
- Replacement of Ainsley Extension (poor condition) in fiscal 2015 for $270,000
- Replacement of the softball complex lot (poor condition) in fiscal 2015 for $530,000
- Replacement of lot on East Circle Drive (poor condition) in fiscal 2015 for $450,000
- Restoration of Oakwood South lot (fair condition) in fiscal 2016 for $500,000
- Restoration of Oakwood lot near West Circle Drive (fair condition) in fiscal 2016 for $475,000
- Replacement of Oestrike Stadium lot (poor condition) in fiscal 2016 for $250,000
- Replacement of Smith Lot (fair condition) in fiscal 2017 for $160,000
- Replacement of Lyman Street lot (poor condition) in fiscal 2017 for $50,000
- Restoration of Oakwood lot near Mayhew Roundabout (fair condition) in fiscal 2017 for $450,000.
- Restoration of Oakwood parking structure (fair condition) in fiscal 2017 for $500,000