Parking expansion seeks to decrease traffic

Nicholas Miller

The University’s plan to remodel its campus by constructing a 1,200-student capacitance dormitory strip on Route 30/Lancaster Ave where its Main Lot now stands is set to lessen traffic delays for local commuters in Radnor Township, according to the University’s newly appointed Director of Parking & Transportation, Dennis Gallagher.  

The design calls for the completion of a 1,100–space, four-story parking garage on South Campus near the SEPTA tracks, accompanied by a road diverting off of Lancaster Ave to the parking garage that would inevitably expedite vehicular congestion on one of the Main Line’s busiest roads.

“It’s been ongoing for a couple years now with Radnor Township,” Gallagher said.  “There are a lot of permits and a lot of hurdles to get through; but it’s starting to get to fruition.”

Along with the parking expansion, the renovations will include a brand new Performing Arts Center at the corner of Ithan Ave and Lancaster Ave where Pike Lot is now, as well as a pedestrian bridge stretching from the Villanova SEPTA station on South Campus over to the St. Thomas of Villanova Church, according to Gallagher.   The expansion also includes more parking for faculty and staff with the addition of an extra level to be built on top of both the St. Augustine Center parking garage and the Health Services Building parking garage.

Yet while main and south campuses will be seeing a complete update in the coming years, West Campus will remain unchanged — leaving some students frustrated.  According to Gallagher, just over 50 percent of the junior students living on West Campus have cars with west parking passes on campus, which seems to be right at the maximum capacity for the 636 spaces available.

 “There needs to be more [parking] spots on West,” said Jackie Bruce, a junior Psychology major in Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  “It’s terrible trying to find a spot—I dread it.  You can drive around in circles at night and still never find an open parking space.”

Nonetheless, even though West Campus may not become a direct beneficiary of the new expansion plans, Gallagher expects the total number of parking passes issued per year to decrease with the addition of the new dormitories, and anticipates no capacitance problems with the addition of the parking garage to the 5,000-plus spaces already available now on campus —especially during major events like Homecoming.

“The school is a staple of the community,” Bruce said.  “I’m excited for the changes and I think the township will be, too.  I think it’s a good idea to be doing this construction because traffic is a nightmare on Lancaster [Ave].”

With the addition of the extra dorms and parking spaces, the University does not plan on increasing undergraduate student enrollment, according to its website; rather, the renovations will expand on-campus housing to the University’s juniors and seniors.

 “The objective here is not to make money,” Gallagher said. “It’s to provide people with a good product and a good time.”