Summit Street project will bring changes to parking

Eric Poston

Several parking lots on campus will see some changes as the two-year Summit Street improvement project begins.

Parking lots impacted by the project will be the lot in front of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, Campus Center and the Student Center lots.

Parking Services Manager Larry Emling said changes were made this summer to parking at the Rec as 50 spaces were added behind the building in anticipation for about 50 spaces being lost in the front lot while a roundabout is constructed at the intersection of Ted Boyd Drive and Summit Street.

Once the roundabout is constructed, the front lot at the Rec will be redesigned and Emling predicts a net gain of about 50 spaces.

Student Center lots

The largest parking changes will come to the Campus Center lot and Student Center lot as an entirely new traffic pattern will take place.

“If you go in front of the Student Center when this is all said and done there will be a connecting road that runs in front of the Kiva, in front of the Mac and in front of Bowman that then goes back out on Janik,” Emling said. “This will allow for a continuous flow of traffic up there when needed.”

Emling also said this will pull people off Summit Street who are going to these lots and not backup traffic on Summit Street.

Currently the Student Center lot has two sections, about 70 metered parking spaces and about 210 spaces run by a cashier. Once the changes are made to the lot, it will become one big lot run by the cashier as the metered parking is removed.

“It should allow for a little bit better turnover in that lot as people come and go and it will make it a little more vehicle friendly,” Emling said.

Construction on the Student Center lot is expected to take place next summer.

Campus Center lots

On the other side of Summit Street, the Campus Center lot will see a lot of changes as West Campus Center Drive is shifted west to line up with a new roundabout. When this happens, a couple hundred spaces will be lost in the Campus Center lot.

“Right now we are still in planning stages of where do we relocate those spaces and how do we make up for that lost space so there is not a net loss to commuter students,” Emling said.

Once the road is shifted over, the road will split the two lots with the staff lot being located to the west of the road and the commuter lot to the east. Currently the commuter lot is broken into two separate parking areas on either side of West Campus Drive, which will change and become one large lot when the project is complete.

“Because of the work going on, this will result in the net loss of about 250 spaces on this side and whether that all in the staff lot or split between the two lots that has yet to be determined exactly,” Emling said. “We are hoping to minimize that number by the new design layout, but we have not come up with final numbers yet that is what we are working on currently.”

Michael Bruder, Kent State executive director of facilities, planning and design, said access to all parking lots will be maintained at all times during the project.  He also said his office has been working with parking services to minimize the disruptions as much as possible for large events on campus.

Updates on the project, detours and parking changes can be found on the project website.

Eric Poston is the construction reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].