Science Center Parking Meeting

22 May 2001

Present: Mara Baird, Betsy Bolton, Lisa Meeden, James Peyton Jones, Charles Ricciardi, Larry Schall, Ken Sharpe

The meeting began with a short conversation about whether or not James could sit in on the meeting. Lisa had no objection. Larry felt Ken and Betsy were bringing in an outside consultant sooner than had been agreed; Ken and Betsy felt they needed James to help them decide whether they needed an outside consultant. Larry agreed that James could come.

Larry and Ken both gave Mara and Chas a little background to the meeting, describing what the committee had done, and what its concerns were. Ken asked for information about the construction of the new access road, and for more information about parking needs, and how those fit together with bottleneck issues. Mara noted that the new access road was not only a way of avoiding bottlenecks, but also a safety feature, since it helped separate faculty/staff from construction traffic.

Chas walked us through parts of the project schedule. This summer, existing piping will be removed from the quad to make it possible to renovate various parts of Dupont. The math and lecture hall wings should be demolished by the end of the summer. They'll also be excavating the front of Cornell-the canopy and one storey down-this summer. They'll have created a back entrance to Cornell by 1st August and will be loading dumptrucks behind Cornell for excavations for the rear walkway.

The "existing " road on the rugby field side of the Science Center will be back in commission within a few weeks of the start of the fall semester. The "utility trench" will eventually run as far as the lawn in front of Trotter to connect with McCabe, but it will be done in sections to minimize disruption. There will be a big junction box for electrical gear in the corner of the current Hicks lot: a manhole surrounded by gravel, not available for parking. This space in the current Hicks lot is unavailable once the trench is finished, no matter what happens to the other ten spaces.

We discussed the possibility of using the Hicks lot during some part of the construction period, and whether it was feasible to defer construction of that part of the project until pressure on parking had eased. This possibility was complicated by the need for service and fire access to Hicks and Beardsley, and by the possibility that the new location of the Science Center might impede the three necessary turning motions for service access. Mara and Chas agreed to look into this.

Chas explained that the area immediately behind Dupont would be used for trailers housing Barclay White staff and major subcontractors. The reasons for locating them behind Dupont include having them in a location that would not interfere with the finished nature of Phase One as well as avoiding the cost and disruption of moving them in the middle of the project. The trailers are roughly 12 feet wide and 60 feet long. Chas estimated that roughly 3 large trailers (12x60) and 3 small trailers (12x30) would be used over the course of the project.

We then talked about peak demand. The outside structures of the new Science Center (Commons, the front wing) will be erected between March 2002 and May or June 2002. May or June 2002 begins the peak period in terms of parking: an influx of many different trades working on the interior of the building. James asked whether the exterior of the building would be finished by this point: whether scaffolding, etc., would be removed. Chas responded that the exterior would be finishing while interior work was beginning: stand-off room would still be needed for scaffolding, maneuvering distance, the fence, etc. There would be a drop-off in traffic over the summer of 2003 while they demolish the interior of the existing buildings toward the back of the Science Center, but four months later, the trades would be back again: autumn of 2003 is another peak time.

Chas summarized the stages of the project in these terms:

Phase 0: summer preparation for work to come

Phase 1: new construction: the Commons, etc. (starting in the fall of 2001)

peak times: trades, trucking = May/June 2002-May/June 2003

Phase 2: Dupont renovation.

demolition (lower numbers) = summer 2003

new peak: autumn 2003

During Phase 0, the Water Tower lot should accommodate construction parking. The water tower lot will be the primary lot for Phases 1 and 2, with spillover into the north Dupont lot as needed.

In Phase 2, they will be doing site work on the Quad area (moving from Cornell over to Dupont). Mara later explained that this site work includes major activities such as putting in a large stormwater tank to allow the college to use stormwater for irrigation. This makes it impossible to use the quad area for lay down during Phase 2.

Chas was planning on using the corner of the rugby field for lay down starting from May/June 2002. Mara asked whether he wouldn't need that space as soon as October 2001, for the work on the chiller; Chas responded that they'd need to open up the area around the chiller anyway and could use that space for lay-down.

James asked about the drainage area marked at the edge of Mara's Plan C drawings for the rugby field. Mara explained that a 4" pipe would be taking overflow from this area over to the larger drainage system for the field as a whole (the swale). James asked if the larger area with drainage could be paved as a way of increasing space and possibly parking efficiency. Mara thought that might open up some possibilities and said she would see what she could come up with.

Ken asked about attempts to maximize separation between faculty/staff and construction workers. In the early months of the project, separation is easy to achieve, with construction workers parking in the Water Tower lot. Starting roughly a year from now, however, even the original plans call for mixed parking in Dupont: roughly half construction workers, half faculty/staff.

Ken then asked whether the new access road was really necessary, after the construction of the new road was completed. Mara responded that as long as the new parking lot was necessary, the new road was not a major addition of space. It helped separate faculty/staff from construction workers, and served as a safety feature, keeping faculty/staff clear of trucks making deliveries, backing up, turning, etc. We talked about when construction workers would be arriving (7 a.m.) and leaving (3:30 p.m.), and what major flow periods for faculty/staff were: morning (8-9am?), lunchtime (12-1?) and evening (4:30-5:30?) Ken rephrased his question in these terms: does sharing a road-giving up the access road-save us anything significant?

Betsy asked if the road could be moved closer to the trench/existing Dupont road. Mara said that using the existing curb cut would save the trees between which the new road would go: a road shouldn't be laid within the drip line of a tree.

James tried to summarize the placement of stationary construction vehicles/trailers: the strip behind Dupont (trailers), the corner of the rugby field designed for overflow, and (in phase 1) the Kohlberg quad. Chas added that flatbed trucks would be making deliveries, and that these might unloaded over the course of several weeks, during which time they would need to be parked somewhere.

Ken proposed parking construction workers rather than faculty and staff on the rugby field so that the lot could be made of gravel rather than asphalt. Chas noted that a gravel field generates a lot of dust, and poses a maintenance issue, with stones sinking into the earth. Mara noted that covered surfaces are more efficient because they can be lined, and are easier to plow in the winter. Lisa noted that gravel seems more temporary, and asked Mara and Chas to address that issue. Chas explained that with either kind of lot, they would begin by laying down a permeable filter fabric, and then gravel. A paved lot would then have 2-3 inches of asphalt on top. This asphalt layer would be a binder coat, without a top coat: it's visibly more porous than other surfaces around campus. This temporary lot would have no curbs. The asphalt can be milled up quickly: Chas recently milled up 1000 linear feet of a two-lane road in two days, and that's roughly twice the size of the proposed lot. Mara noted that bitumen (asphalt) can be recycled: reused in another surface, and that there's a substantial market for this kind of recycling. Stone (gravel) is harder to reuse, though as Ken noted, either surface produces gravel to be removed and dealt with somehow.

The cost of laying down an asphalt lot was estimated at roughly $27,000; a gravel lot would take an estimated $15-18,000 to lay down, plus maintenance, estimated at $1-1,500 every couple of months. Removing an asphalt lot (milling the asphalt, excavating the stone, dressing up the area with top soil, etc.) was estimated at roughly $5000; removing a gravel lot was estimated at roughly the same cost. [In our next meeting Chas corrected these figures to approximately $146,000 for installing an asphalt lot, $111,000 for gravel and $50,000 for removing asphalt with $30,000 for removing gravel.] James asked whether or not the swale would need to be removed to return the field to playing conditions, and Mara said it would.

Larry noted that moving the Dupont road 22 feet out effectively put an end to the rugby field, which is already undersized. Lisa suggested an Ultimate playing field instead. Larry noted that for the field to be used for athletics it would need to be upgraded, with drainage systems installed, and so on. He also noted that the field was currently used, as grass, for overflow parking for Commencement and other large events.

Lisa asked whether a gravel lot could still be used for Parrish construction. Larry said that construction traffic and lay-down would probably take place closer to Parrish: the entry point for construction would likely be the road in front of the library rather than Whittier. Planning for this project has not yet begun. Ken pointed out that with parking along Whittier and Dupont restored, the need for parking in the Parrish project was theoretically much lower.

Larry said that Whittier as a road needed to be redone, and that in redoing the road, parking could possibly be eliminated because of the narrowness of the existing road. He didn't know when Whittier would be redone, whether this would happen before Parrish, during, or after. Residents will certainly be consulted before any plans are made for this project

Mara stressed the temporary nature of the proposed lot, noting that anyone who knew her would know she would never design a permanent lot that looked like this. Because it's temporary, this is an ugly lot: Mara cares too much about her work to design a permanent lot this way.

Betsy asked about Mara's Plan C revisions to Dupont, first about the reasoning behind where to extend the current lot, and secondly whether Mara thought the trade-offs of green space (rugby field vs. minor incursions on Crum) were a poor strategy in terms of preserving the Crum. Mara responded that she had worked to maintain a sensitive barrier between the lot and the start of the slope, the start of the woods. Jeff Jabco from the Arboretum had approved the drawings in Plan C. Mara noted, however, that Plan C would need to be restudied: in particular, the swale (conceived for Plan A) would probably need to be enlarged to accommodate a larger surface area to drain. In terms of the green space trade offs ("Is this a stupid move?" in Betsy's words), Mara responded that this expansion of Dupont would also help with the college's longer term parking needs, and that she had been working on this expansion before the Science Center project had come along. Larry explained that they had decided to shelve a general improvement of the Dupont lot until after the Science Project had taken its toll on the current asphalt and so on. Mara said Plan C thus raised the problem of coming up with short term solutions for the lot when a long-term solution was called for.

Mara and Chas agreed to look into the following areas:

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