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Parking hunt tougher with new construction

Students, staff and faculty who hunt for spaces in the B-permit parking lot have often found themselves short of parking spaces since the start of the semester.

UNM student Andrea Simpson said she could only find one parking space in the B-lot during the last three weeks, forcing her to seek parking elsewhere, such as the pay lots on Yale Boulevard.

Simpson said she called the Parking and Transportation Services Department for answers and received conflicting information. She said she was told construction wouldn't begin until April, when 80 spots would be torn up, and people with B permits would be given some sort of compensation only if they volunteered to give up their parking spot.

After speaking with parking services, she said the problems continued because 18 parking spots had already been torn up.

"It doesn't seem to me that they know what they're talking about," Simpson said.

She said if she had known about these problems she would have purchased a G-lot permit and paid less money to walk the same distance.

Clovis Acosta, acting director of parking services, said the project Simpson spoke about was the construction of the Hibben Anthropology Center, which is set to begin construction in April. He said 60 parking spaces will be unavailable during the construction phase of the building, with an additional 10 or 20 spaces due to a fence that will surround the construction project.

Acosta said no final decisions have been made regarding those who will lose their parking spaces, but is certain no reimbursements will be given on parking permits.

"Everyone will have a parking spot," he said. "We're looking at every single option."

Acosta said the Bob Turner parking lot could be a viable option for people who have been displaced because of construction, but again, nothing has been finalized.

Roger Lujan, director of Facility Planning, said UNM recently had received approval from the city to install two safety beacons along University Boulevard and between Lomas Boulevard and Central Avenue. He said if everything goes as planned and the lights are installed, the Bob Turner parking lot could open after spring break.

Acosta said parking services Department is working with the Albuquerque Police Department to enforce a double fine zone for speeding between Central Avenue and Lomas Boulevard to help make the new parking lot safer for pedestrians.

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Acosta had few answers to the current problem in the B-permit parking lot, but said parking services has stepped up enforcement by hiring two additional parking officers who will be assigned mainly to B-lot for ticketing to insure only those with permits park there.

"It's a constantly ever-going enforcement situation," he said.

Josh Kavanagh, a parking services representative, said the current construction in the B- permit parking lot is part of an ongoing electrical upgrade project that has affected a veriety of places on campus.

"The periods are very short and will come to a close very soon," Kavanagh said.

Acosta said parking services will make every consideration to make strong public announcements and distribute last-minute details when construction begins in April.

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