University News

City to lease parking spots for faculty, staff

By
Contributing Writer
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Providence will lease 250 parking spaces to the University beginning July 1, as part of a broader attempt by the city, the University and local businesses to increase the availability of parking on College Hill.
As determined in negotiations with the city last spring, Brown faculty and staff members will have exclusive access to the 250 spaces from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the option of remaining parked there until 6 p.m., said Beth Gentry, chair of the University parking committee. After noon, faculty and staff members can remain in those spots, but the spaces will also be open to the general public for two-hour parking. The goal is that fewer Brown employees will have to move their cars during the day to comply with two-hour parking signs, a phenomenon Gentry calls “the two-hour shuffle.”
Parking is a perennial issue for the University, Gentry said. In 2008, the University joined with local businesses and residents to form the College Hill Parking Task Force. The task force reported that enough parking spaces existed to accommodate the neighborhood’s needs. The problem was how to use those spaces efficiently, they said in a report published in 2008.
“It’s not about the creation of new parking spaces,” said Leo Perrotta, city parking administrator.  “It’s about the management of existing spaces.”
But the city has yet to fully act upon the task force’s recommendations, which included installing parking meters and marking areas for short- and long-term parking. Perrotta said the city hopes to install block parking meters on College Hill but it does not “have the resources to do it currently.”
John Gianfrancesco, owner of Loui’s Restaurant on Brook Street, expressed frustration with this approach. “There’s never going to be enough parking on the East Side,” he said. “Why doesn’t Brown build a big parking garage? They have the money.”
The University has no plans to build a parking garage, Gentry said. “Parking garages are generally not a cost-effective use of land,” she said, adding that College Hill residents oppose an expansion of the Power Street garage.
University construction projects have reduced the amount of parking near campus. Construction of the Nelson Fitness Center on Hope Street removed 250 parking spots for students and faculty members when it began construction in summer 2010. As part of the recent deal with the city, Brown will take possession of three streets – including Brown Street from George Street to Charlesfield Street – which will be lined for parking spots in January but will eventually be turned into closed walkways. The University has organized a parking committee – which includes faculty members and administrators – to determine the future of parking spaces of those three streets and renting those spots to faculty members.