For many years the former Hoofdgebouw of TU/e, which was closed four years ago so as to be refurbished as Atlas, was surrounded especially by pavement and parking spaces. In the meantime the heart of the campus was redesigned to an extended green and car-free zone, along which various large buildings are located that accommodate many users.
This implies that parking right in front of the door has been far from self-evident for some time now, as is acknowledged by Peter Bloemers, department head of Safety & Security and Location Management at TU/e. At this moment the campus counts some eighteen hundred parking spaces at ground level - and he thinks that is enough. Even though on busy days you sometimes need to search for a vacant space, as he well knows. “And that is definitely not going to be less in the years to come.”
He has a matter-of-fact attitude to the acute extra parking pressure on the west side of the campus, though. “Everybody can park on the campus, but people should not expect that this will always be right in front of the door. It’s no different at Flux. If you do want the shortest distance, you will have to come early. Otherwise people may have to walk for a couple of minutes.”
It is particularly the parking spaces at the Auditorium and near Impuls (the low building opposite the Spar supermarket in Luna) which will be in demand, he expects. These can accommodate 180 and 130 vehicles respectively. In recent years the site near Impuls was mostly occupied by the builders in Atlas, but it has become available again with the completion of the building. The most obvious alternatives are the parking spaces at the back of Vertigo (100 spaces), at the Laplace building (150) and around Traverse (140).
Read on below the photo.
It is estimated that 25 to 30 percent of the roughly one thousand employees coming to work in Atlas travel by car - but of these TU/e employees at most seventy percent are at work in Atlas simultaneously at peak moments, as is sketched by Bert Verheijen from Real Estate Management, who is also a member of the TU/e parking management working group.
Encourage other transport
Nevertheless he too has to acknowledge that the overall parking pressure is rising - especially once Fontys will in a few months’ time move into the former TNO building with several hundred employees. Although every drawback has a flipside - or at least it comes with an opportunity: “In the end, it stands to reason that as a university we also want to encourage our employees to choose other means of transport than cars, with a view to the environment and their own health. If somebody now needs to walk perhaps five minutes longer from their parking space to Atlas, that may just be enough of a nudge for them to cycle to work or to come by public transport, because they are just as fast if they do so. Naturally we applaud that.”
Another element at play apart from the ‘individual’ parking need is that TU/e wants to be a hospitable university for visitors, according to Verheijen. He is well aware that it may not be a popular message, “but I could imagine that in the future we wish to reserve the parking facilities at the Auditorium more specifically for guests who need to attend a PhD ceremony, for instance, or other activities. You wouldn’t want to oblige the relatives of students graduating in the Auditorium to park their cars at the outskirts of the campus. That is an aspect which we also want to look at in more detail.”
This does not alter the fact that in the years to come we will definitely make a great effort to relieve the parking pressure - initially especially by building a multistory car park next to Vertigo. In mid-December the University Council agreed to outsource its parking facilities to an external party, which should start building car parks on the site of which TU/e will reserve a number of parking spaces.
In the very short term that will not provide any relief, for that matter; the intended car park could be operational late in 2020 at the earliest, Verheijen thinks: “Then just about everything really needs to go smoothly, though”. He hopes that the tendering procedure can be started by next summer. “If we subsequently have an organization at the end of the year which is going to take over the parking management from the university, we can’t grumble.”
How many vehicles that new car park will actually accommodate still remains to be seen: “That is up to the party selected”, says Verheijen.