With a new projected completion date of mid-to-late October, the parking garage will hold 1000 parking spots, 16 electric vehicle charging stations and a bike storage unit, as said on the Humber Communiqué website.
Also with the additional parking spots, commuters can expect to see designated carpool parking, two retail spaces, an office space and 750 kW external solar panels which are strong enough to power the new Centre for Technology Innovation (CTI) building beside the University. The structure will be monitored by security through patrolling, security cameras and emergency code blue phones, as said by associate director of Capital Development, Joe Chimenti.
Chimenti said that the garage will be shared by both Humber College and University of Guelph-Humber staff and students and will accept both permits and daily parking, with permit holders having priority.
The idea of a parking garage first emerged in 2016, with the goal to “bring parking back on site,” said Chimenti. “We think the parking garage will reduce the need for off-site parking so that students can park right at the campus versus off the site.”
There are additional off-campus lots on Queens Plate Drive and at the Woodbine Centre on Highway 27 that students often use.
Mario Castiglione, a third year business student, responded to the current parking situation as “horrendous, pretty rough because I have to get up at 6:30 a.m. just to get here with enough time to find a good spot.”
Veronica Castillo, a fourth year early childhood studies student, is on campus Monday through Wednesday for classes and an on-campus job in the student recruitment office who also has to plan her commute thoroughly. “I always leave at least two hours ahead of when I’m supposed to be on campus just so I can find a spot. Personally for me, I don’t want to go to Queens Plate because I don’t want to have to wait for that shuttle.”
Chimenti said Arboretum Boulevard will be widened slightly to the parking garage which will allow two full lanes coming in.
The garage is currently open exclusively to University of Guelph-Humber students with permits however construction is not yet complete. Chimenti said, “the garage unfortunately wasn’t finished by September. We first started with the Guelph-Humber people because they were the closest and would benefit most by having the parking nearby.”
Chimenti said the parking garage will initially act as a trade-off with the upcoming closure of lot five at the northwest corner of campus, set for January 2019. This will allow for preparations to begin for the new Finch West Light Rail Transit, estimated to be completed by 2021-22.
“There’s an LRT that’s coming to Humber in, well it’s actually going to be starting in January, the construction, and we need to give them parking lot five temporarily for their staging area and so we thought we could use the parking garage as well to offset the losses there,” said Chimenti.
Another entrance point to the campus will also help relieve congestion. Chimenti said once the Finch West LRT is complete, lot five will be back in service with an additional entrance point from Highway 27 between the LRT and the parking garage.
The current projected completion date for the parking garage is mid-to-late October. Chimenti said the initial completion date was based on the original project, but was pushed back with the addition of the solar panels, funded by the provincial government through the Green House Gases fund, along with general delays at the start-up.