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Congestion leads UA to close Mall's east side

By Ty Young
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 8, 1999

In order to combat the decreasing amount of campus parking, University of Arizona officials are paving over the east side of the UA Mall to ease the burden for construction workers.

The grassy area located on the Mall between the Ina E. Gittings building and McKale Memorial Center is currently in preparation for the conversion to a parking lot. Later this week, it will be paved over with asphalt.

The lot will provide parking for vehicles involved in the Memorial Student Union renovation and Integrated Learning Center construction, as well as other current and future projects.

UA spokeswoman Sharon Kha said in a press release last week that "the only available space for the contractor permits is adjacent to the construction fence on the east end of the Mall."

University officials believe that this will help to decrease the amount of traffic in the surrounding neighborhood region.

Contractors must purchase special permits which will allow them to park their vehicles in the lot. Money generated from this will go to reconstructing the Mall area when the university projects are finished.

According to Kha, the decision to create a separate parking lot for construction vehicles was made with the entire campus in mind, as well as those who live in neighboring areas.

"If we had construction vehicles park in the neighborhoods, it would upset the residents near campus," Kha said. "If we allowed vehicles to park in university lots, it would push back the waiting lists for campus parking. We felt this was the best plan for everybody."

Paving the lot will also help save the Mall when the construction is finished, Kha said.

Construction trucks parking on the grass would compact the soil under the tremendous weight of the vehicles, Kha stated in the press release. This would make it nearly impossible to replant grass in the future.

Paving also prevents oil and gasoline leaks from penetrating the surface of the ground.

Upon completion of the current construction projects, the lot will be returned to its original state.

Student reaction to the new parking lot has been mixed.

"I would rather they didn't build it. Because construction will be going on for so long, I think they should leave it the way it is," journalism freshman Paige Perry said.

Others said that they hope it will speed up the various campus construction projects.

"If they need that to make construction quicker, then I think it's okay," undeclared freshman Lydell Faden said.

The parking area is expected to house construction vehicles for two to three years, or until the majority of construction is finished.

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