California State University, Long Beach
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Parking Lot 7 Renovations

Published: September 6, 2016

Overhead view of Parking Lot 7
PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK ZAKHOUR
Overhead view of Parking Lot 7.

Parking lot 7 at CSULB just received a major facelift as one of the campus’ primary parking reopened in August with more than 150 new stalls. These needed renovations come following a lack of stability and a number of safety hazards piling up around Lot 7, the large parking lot at the south end of the campus near the Theater Arts building.

Mark Zakhour, Manager of Design and Construction Services at CSULB, said that these renovations were desperately needed, as Lot 7 was reaching the end of its usable lifespan.

“There were many problems with the lot. The asphalt was cracking, parts of the lot were falling apart and it started to form sinkholes,” said Zakhour. “It was really becoming a big safety hazard to the campus.”

The project began in development last year when Zakhour and his team began looking at different studies, parking structures and various other lots to design a plan that could best accommodate the campus. The idea was to increase safety and accessibility to parking in the most cost-effective way.

Zakhour began choosing design teams, pulled in contractors and assembled a team of project managers, engineers and architects to help design a reconfiguration of Lot 7 that would increase the number of parking spaces, but also be cost-efficient.

According to Zakhour, the overall goal was to overlap the design and construction development phases so that construction would not run into the beginning of the fall semester in August, a notable period where parking on campus is characteristically the most hectic and congested.

“We had to move very fast,” he said. “We had about three and a half months’ worth of design and development to complete in a process that would normally take about six to eight months.” The team finally broke ground in April with Lot 7 as well as the south campus drive and the south campus turnaround being removed.

The newly designed and enlarged Lot 7 opened just in time for the fall semester and features 431 stalls, providing an additional 152 over the previous lot. The entrance at the south campus turnaround has also been reconfigured and added a small parking lot just south of Lot 7 to help mitigate traffic at Seventh Street and East Campus Drive to relieve a common problem of cars backing up at the traffic light.

In addition to the new spaces, there has been enhanced accessibility for individuals needing disabled parking in Lot 7. Access on sidewalks has been improved and the new south campus turnaround, according to Zakhour, will now be one of the campus’ true fully code-compliant disabled drop-off zones. Lot 7 has also been made much safer, with new lighting fixtures and a removal of several trip hazards and overall improved traffic flow.

Sustainability and environmental support has also been a focus of the development of Lot 7.

Next year, Zakhour says their team plans on going back and installing solar panels over the entire lot, a big step forward in helping the campus reach its goal in becoming a net-zero energy campus, meaning it will create as much energy as it uses each day. CSULB hopes to achieve this goal by the year 2030.

Overall, Zakhour is optimistic about the lot’s future and its goal in benefiting the campus.

“Any increase in parking on campus, especially on the south side of campus where parking can be hard to come by, is a plus for students and faculty,” said Zakhour.

Lot 7 opened on the first day of classes on Aug. 22 as a faculty and staff parking lot only, with general spaces open to students with valid parking permits after 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and all day during the weekends.

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