A new traffic light located at Maple Drive and Willow Drive is expected to make traffic flow more smoothly than in previous semesters.
The light, which was installed about three weeks ago, is part of the new Collins Boulevard Parking Facility project. The new parking garage is located behind the Student Services Building and is scheduled to open on the first day of fall classes, which is Aug. 23.
Jeff Mack, director of Auxiliary Services and overseer of the parking and transportation department, said the new light was put into place to make traffic move more freely and to help commuters make left hand turns more safely and easily.
“With 1,500 spaces in the new parking garage, the light will help with traffic flow on campus,” Mack said.
The new parking garage project began last fall and its budget is estimated at $14 million. That figure includes the site preparation, construction of the garage, roadways and the new traffic light, Mack said.
The Department of Parking and Transportation, which receives no state funds, borrowed $12 million from the state and will repay it over the next 20 years. The money that students, faculty and staff pay for parking tags and fines, in addition to transportation fees that are calculated into tuition goes toward paying off the loan, Mack said.
He said that since the new light has been installed, there are some light regulations that require the light to flash yellow to allow traffic to get used to the new signal. Mack did not know when the light would be fully operative, but he did say the light would have sensors to help detect the traffic flow on that part of campus and help with traffic congestion.
The Collins Parking Facility is almost double in size and space compared to the Crescent Hill Parking Garage. Crescent Hill has approximately 830 parking spots and six levels, whereas the Collins Garage is expected to have about 1,500 parking spaces and five levels.
“It will definitely be a big boost for parking this fall,” Mack said.
The Collins Garage will allow gold staff parking and visitor parking, and will allow about 1,000 non-resident students to park, Mack said.
“(The garage) will definitely have to be one of those things people have to get used to with traffic, but it’s progress for our campus,” he said.
Updates and further information about the Collins Boulevard Parking Facility project can be viewed on the Department of Parking and Transportation Web site at http://isis2.admin.usf.edu/parking_services/garage.asp .