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Sustainable Parking Goes to College

By Rob McConnell PE, LEED Green Associate VP Parking Solutions

For the past 20 years, Carl Walker, a division of WGI, has worked with Colorado State University in Fort Collins on a variety of campus parking projects. In 2007, we were selected to help design the University’s first parking structure: the four-level, 873-car Lake Street garage. Lake Street incorporates retail and office space within the garage footprint to serve the Parking and Transportation Services department, among others. In keeping with CSU’s sustainability initiatives, Lake Street obtained LEED Gold certification for its design, construction practices, and ongoing operations. In 2015 and 2016, we helped design and construct the University’s second parking structure: the four-level, 664-space South College parking facility. South College’s green features are also second-to-none. Both facilities are built to maximize parking at the site while integrating sustainable features and operating practices consistent with ParkSmart principles.

Advanced parking guidance (APG) with occupancy sensors makes finding a parking space quick and easy, reducing search time and engine emissions

Sustainable Design Features

Both structures feature regionally sourced materials, such as integrally colored architectural precast concrete with hand-laid sandstone feature walls. Rain gardens, low water-use plantings, and native plants appropriately manage stormwater and minimize potable water use. Lighting controls with daylight harvesting and energy efficient lighting reduce energy consumption. South College features dimmable lighting with motion-sensing for energy savings and security.

Both facilities have roof structures and other infrastructure for photovoltaic panels for onsite power generation. The PV system is already in place at Lake Street, and South College will soon follow. The roofs also protect the parking ramps from snow and ice, reducing the need for ice-melting products. Furthermore, the structure includes reserved spaces for electric vehicle charging and 5% of the best parking spaces reserved for fuel-efficient vehicles.

Dedicated lanes link South College with the primary east-west bicycle and pedestrian spine; covered bike storage is provided just inside the garage.

Operational Features

A parking guidance system with individual occupancy sensors provides active parking guidance in each facility, allowing patrons to easily locate available spaces while reducing search time and exhaust emissions. Additionally, the “Way to Park” mobile app provides real-time parking availability to drivers, guiding them directly to the open parking areas. License plate recognition technology allows quick and efficient parking enforcement and eliminates waste from permits and tickets. The Lake Street garage’s main pedestrian core is across the street from a multi-route campus transit stop and, at South College, a Fort Collins’ MAX Transit stop is directly adjacent to the main elevator lobby. Both facilities provide storage space for bicycles and motorcycles, which make these garages campus multimodal hubs.

Moving Ahead

WGI is currently working with the University to obtain GBCI Parksmart certification for both garages. CSU is one of the first institutions to embrace the new sustainability standard for parking structures. We look forward to many years of helping Colorado State University with its parking needs.

The Colorado State University Lake Street Parking Garage in Fort Collins, Colorado was awarded an International Parking Institute 2011 Award of Excellence for Best Design of a Parking Structure with 800 or More Spaces. Read more here.

About Author

Rob McConnell

Vice President of WGI Parking Solutions

Rob McConnell is Vice President of WGI Parking Solutions.  With more than 25 years design and consulting experience throughout the US and Canada, his resume includes the 1996 Olympics, Detroit Tigers Comerica Park, Vail Resorts, Atlanta Airport, and many other projects for public and private clients.  The CSU Lake Street garage received LEED Gold certification, which is extremely rare for a parking structure.

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