Front Page

Next Story

NIH Record

Paid Parking on Horizon
Campus Construction Boom Ushers In New Parking Era

On the Front Page...
To address the loss of campus parking spaces due to construction, the Office of Research Services (ORS) has developed a parking management plan that could forever change the face of parking on campus.

During 1996, a total of 450 parking spaces were lost due to repairs to the Bldg. 10 clinic parking garage and the essential maintenance and safety program in the Clinical Center. This month, 300 spaces will be lost as construction for the Consolidated Laboratory Facility (Bldg. 50) gets under way at the site of parking lot 13C. The utility tunnel and power plant expansion projects will claim another 100 spaces in July and August. The site work to relocate Center Drive for construction of the Clinical Research Center (CRC) will begin in the fall, and will result in loss of an additional 430 spaces. In 1998, NIH is expected to lose 500-700 more spaces temporarily as the foundations of the CRC affect the Bldg. 10 garage at the line where the new building meets old Bldg 10.

A survey of all campus parking facilities earlier this year showed that, in parallel to an overall shortage of spaces, chaotic parking patterns dominate the parking picture, with a significant number of illegally parked cars and an extremely high deficit in visitor spaces.

"In developing alternative solutions, we have tried to cope with this loss and maintain capacity while finding ways to more efficiently manage the spaces we have," explains Stella Serras-Fiotes, master planner in ORS's Division of Engineering Services, who is coordinating the new parking plans.

The ORS plan includes the following strategies: create new capacity for employee parking, including new temporary spaces to offset losses due to construction; increase management and control of parking by contracting with Colonial Parking, a private parking management service, to provide attendant-assisted parking; increase visitor parking; institute parking fees for visitors; and increase off-campus parking facilities.

Some plan details:

  • In early July, temporary lots will add about 400 spaces to the parking inventory, primarily to offset parking losses associated with construction of Bldg. 50. The lots are to be located south of parking lot 41B (south end of campus); east of the Natcher Bldg.; near the National Library of Medicine; by the electrical substation at Bldg. 17 (near Rockville Pike); and in front of the Lasker Center.
  • By August, visitor parking will be consolidated and expanded to a capacity for approximately 1,200 cars. This will be accomplished through four attended visitor parking facilities, managed by Colonial Parking, and installation of parking meters near buildings. Visitor parking will be located in the following areas: MLP-8, top 21/2 levels; lot 4A (partial); Natcher Bldg. temporary lot (partial); the existing P3 level of the Bldg. 10 parking facility; and parking meters at the Natcher Plaza and Bldgs. 13, 36, 38 and 31.
  • Also by August, ORS plans to implement paid visitor parking (except for patients, patient visitors and authorized users of the P3 level in Bldg. 10). NIH has received permission from GSA to collect the fees, which will help pay for the contract to provide attended parking services campus-wide. Rates are proposed to permit short-term visitor parking at a reasonable rate ($2/hour up to 3 hours) and discourage nonvisitors from purchasing daily parking ($12/day). The ICDs would have the option of prepurchasing validated stamps to provide visitor parking at no cost to their visitors.
  • At the same time, all other existing visitor spaces will be converted to employee parking. Additionally, managed attendant-assisted parking for employees will be implemented in the lower levels of MLP-8.
  • Also beginning in August, construction contractors will park at a new off-campus facility and will have a dedicated shuttle service to the campus. This will free about 200-250 spaces on campus for use by employees.
  • By October, a net gain of approximately 330 new employee spaces will be achieved through management of employee parking at all the Bldg. 31 parking lots by Colonial Parking. This added capacity will offset parking losses associated with Clinical Research Center construction and relocation of Center Drive. The operation calls for first-arriving employees to self-park cars in existing spaces. Once lots are full, attendants will direct employees to aisle parking where parkers leave their car and ignition key and receive a claim ticket. Vehicle keys are secured by attendants using key security locks. As self-park spaces open, the "stacked" cars will be moved into available spaces. Departing stacked employees will present a ticket to an attendant who will move any blocking vehicles.
  • Finally, the capacity of the NIH leased parking facility at Mid-Pike Plaza has been increased to 425 spaces. Regular shuttle bus service to this lot, as well as the other off-campus facilities such as Garage 57 in Bethesda and 6006 Executive Blvd. in North Bethesda, is available from the campus.
  • The already established TRANSHARE Program, which provides a subsidy for commuters using public transportation; the Ridefinder Network, a carpool/vanpool matching service; satellite lots; and bicycling amenities will continue to operate and expand as opportunity allows.

    "Eventually in later phases, we anticipate enhanced managed operations of all parking and transportation resources on and off campus," notes Stephen Ficca, NIH associate director for research services. "One central Transportation and Parking Management Center will then encompass the full range of parking initiatives including phasing in the management of parking at other campus facilities, shuttle operations and satellite parking." Costs would be offset by revenues recouped from visitor paid parking.

    More parking and transportation information can be found on NIH's parking and transportation Web page at For information on these and other commuter alternatives, including TRANSHARE and the Ridefinder Network, call the Employee Transportation Services Office, 2-RIDE.

    Up to Top