Parking garage entrance to close for three weeks

The spring semester is not the only thing that will be closing over the next three weeks.

The main entrance to the Leroy Collins Boulevard parking garage will be closed from Monday to May 8, which could make USF’s roadways difficult to navigate.

Mango Lane, the entrance to the garage located off of Leroy Collins Boulevard and Parking Lot 1, will be closed for the next three weeks, including finals week.

According to a parking alert on the Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) website, the decision was made, “in the interest of public safety,” due to “construction activity on the roadway.”

Both the garage and Lot 1 will remain open but will only be accessible through one entrance each. Drivers intending to enter the parking garage may use Willow Drive and drivers entering Lot 1 can do so by turning right onto Apple Drive from Leroy Collins Boulevard.

Willow Drive is located behind the garage and the Student Services building and connects with Maple Drive near the USF Soccer Stadium.

With classes still in session and finals week lasting from April 30 to May 5, students may have to re-adjust their schedules to ensure that they are able to park in time for classes.

Capt. Michael Klingebiel, a University Police (UP) spokesman, said facilities planning notified UP of the closure in an email Monday. He said UP was told to anticipate an increase in traffic on Maple Drive.

Klingebiel said UP does not plan on increasing patrols on the road during that time. “Patrol has been notified,” Klingebiel said.

“We would just be more sensitive to that area, but in terms of doing anything more specific (in response), no.”

PATS director Manuel Lopez said in an email that due to the construction on Leroy Collins, PATS will take the opportunity to measure safety at the garage entrance.

“We are taking advantage of the construction timeline to try to alleviate the conflicts between pedestrians and cars at the entry to the garage,” he said. “One way to do this is by closing the entrance to car traffic. For the next three weeks we will be making observations of pedestrians and traffic so a decision can be made on how to safely solve the situation.”

Lopez said surveying traffic while school is in session will help PATS make an informed safety decision.

“In order to make an informed decision we need traffic and pedestrian data during heavy use, not when there is limited traffic,” he said.

Lauren Nieder, a sophomore majoring in biomedical sciences, said she uses the garage at least four times a week, but doesn’t anticipate the change being a problem for her.

“It’s not really going to bother me because I always come in through the other entrance because it’s just easier for me to do and to avoid the traffic (on Leroy Collins Boulevard),” she said. “I’m not happy about (the traffic being funneled to the Maple Drive area), but hopefully I get here early enough where it doesn’t matter.”

Amy McLarty, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, said she uses the garage three times per week and finds the closures an inconvenience.

“The fact that it’s happening at the very end of the semester (is an inconvenience),” she said. “They should just wait until everyone’s out of class. I don’t see why they just don’t wait.”