UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State Transportation Services will open the new West Deck located at University Park’s West Campus at 6 a.m. Monday, May 10, for both permit holder and visitor parking.
With the opening of the West Deck, the two sections of Red A parking located along White Course Drive near the Westgate and Earth and Engineering Sciences buildings will close at midnight Sunday night (May 9), and all vehicles must be removed from these lots by that time. Permit holders who currently have access to Red A parking areas will have access to the West Deck until further notice.
Built for the future
Construction of the West Deck began in late 2019, with the Clayco and Lamar Johnson Collaborative design-build team selected to design and construct the facility. The new deck is necessary to support the planned expansion of the College of Engineering into West Campus. Site work is currently underway for West 2, which will be located next to the West Deck. The Penn State Board of Trustees voted on May 7 to approve the construction of West 1, which will be built on the current site of Red A parking just north of the Earth and Engineering Sciences Building.
“The West Deck is a key component of the University’s long-term plans to accommodate much-needed new academic buildings on west campus for the College of Engineering. By consolidating parking and linking it with other transit options, this deck also enables future buildings that may be planned for core campus,” said Neil Sullivan, University planner.
West Deck features
Located along White Course Drive between the Earth and Engineering Sciences Building and White Course Apartments, the West Deck holds 1,651 parking spaces across the 537,037-square-foot, six-level facility. Level one of the deck will offer an 8-foot, 3-inch clearance to accommodate oversized vehicles, with a 7-foot, 9-inch clearance on levels two through five. The deck’s 28 ADA-accessible parking spaces will all be located on level one, as will the five level-two electric vehicle (EV) charging plugs. Thirteen additional spaces have been prepped for the potential installation of additional EV charging plugs in the future.
Technology designed to simplify the parking experience was a major emphasis in the design of the West Deck. TIBA License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras and software will scan license plates to grant access in and out of the deck for authorized permit holders, reducing wait time for drivers to enter and exit the facility. The implementation of LPR technology at the West Deck and for parking enforcement on campus are the first steps for Transportation Services in its eventual transition to a virtual permit system that would eliminate the need for physical permits. The West Deck also will feature the INDECT parking guidance system, which senses the availability of each parking space in the deck and communicates that availability to customers in real-time through a color-coded system of LED lights above each space. This system will improve the customer experience, traffic flow and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by significantly reducing the time needed to locate available parking within the deck.
Rob DeMayo, director of Transportation Services, noted the importance of this new addition to campus.
“As the needs of our campus and community continue to evolve, this new parking deck is a necessary step to accommodate future needs for convenient and safe parking for students, employees and visitors,” DeMayo said.
A multi-modal facility
While the West Deck is primarily a parking facility, it also will serve as a hub for multiple modes of transportation. A dedicated covered bike parking area will be located on level one of the deck, with parking for up to 100 bikes, a bike repair station and pump. The West Deck also will be home to The Bike Den, a community-building space opening this summer whose goal will be to enhance the community and environment through promoting bicycle transportation and material stewardship. Staff and volunteers will be available to guide and educate individuals on do-it-yourself bike repair. New CATABUS stops near the West Deck’s entrance/exit area and along White Course Drive near the West Campus Intramural Fields also will open on Monday.
West Deck permit holder access
The West Deck will have a parking designation of Yellow A for faculty/staff parking, but Red A, Green Y and Yellow Z permits also will be valid there through the completion of the faculty/staff parking permit exchange scheduled for later this summer. Most Red A, Green Y, Yellow A and Yellow Z permit holders will be assigned a Yellow A permit to park at the West Deck moving forward. A limited number of Red A permits will be assigned for parking at the remaining Red A parking areas. By the start of the fall semester, Green Y parking will only be located behind the West Campus Chiller Plant, the small parking area located between Research West and the Water Tunnel currently designated as Yellow A parking is expected to close, and the Yellow Z parking designation at the Brown 11 student parking area will be discontinued. Department parking chairs will contact permit holders in June to schedule permit exchanges with faculty and staff, and more information on lot changes will be shared by Transportation Services when available.
After permit exchange is completed, Yellow A permits will be the only faculty/staff permit designation valid in the West Deck during weekday daytime hours (7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Other permit holders who wish to park there during those hours would be required to pay the hourly fee. All faculty/staff and student permits will be valid at the West Deck during evening (after 4 p.m.) and weekend hours. A new student long-term storage parking permit (YAS) available to eligible students living both on and off campus will be offered there beginning this fall.
Accurate and up-to-date license plate information will be required for permit holders to park at the West Deck. The entry and exit gates will raise when license plate recognition technology located at all entrance and exit lanes verifies that the license plate of the vehicle is associated with a valid parking permit. If for any reason the license plate does not validate and open the gate, permit holders may scan their permit at the in-lane machine to enter or exit. Permit holders should not take an entry ticket to park at the West Deck or any of the campus parking decks. License plate information can be updated using the online parking portal, and more information on how to update license plate information is available at the Manage Vehicle Information page at the Transportation Services website.
Visitor parking at West Deck
Visitor parking will be available at the West Deck at the rate of $1 per hour, with a $12 daily maximum fee. Visitors will take a ticket from any entry lane machine to enter the deck. When ready to leave, visitors will submit the entry ticket at any of the five pay stations located on level one to pay with cash or a credit card, or submit the ticket in their vehicle using any of the exit lane machines to pay by credit card only.
For questions about the new West Deck, contact Transportation Services by phone at 814-865-1436 or by email at email@example.com.