Ridges parking deck opens, easing parking tensions


Seth Maile

The P12 parking lot fills with cars during the peek hours of the day.

Hayden Bailey , Assistant Arts & Feature Editor, [email protected]

On Oct. 17, a campus-wide email was sent out by UNC Asheville’s Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Meghan Harte Weyant, alerting everyone that the Ridges parking deck has opened. 

“As mentioned at the start, the Ridges parking deck has been completed ahead of schedule. You may remember that our hope was for it to be finished by January 2023. The project was completed over the weekend, and the deck has been opened,” part of the email read.

The Ridges parking deck has been designated to resident students only. 

Trevor Goldsmith, the parking coordinator for UNCA, said the opening of the Ridges parking deck allowed for minimum usage of P1 and P2 almost overnight. 

“It made room for those who are currently using the temporary University Heights resident parking to shift back when those lots revert,” Goldsmith said. 

He said in all, 204 resident students and live-in professional staff immediately had the opportunity to park closer to their residence halls. 

The campus email mentioned a parking study, currently being conducted to further improve the parking situation.

“The parking study is underway and just last week was reviewed by the Transportation Committee. Before Thanksgiving Break, Parking & Transportation will be in touch with Faculty Senate Executives, Staff Council, and SGA regarding those recommendations. I anticipate that the proposed parking changes will be finalized and shared with the campus community by Winter Break,” part of the email read. 

This parking study was previously mentioned by David Weldon, interim associate vice chancellor of Public Safety. 

“We are actually studying what parking looks like with a full load. We couldn’t do that during COVID because we didn’t have anybody here,” he said. 

Weldon said he had hoped for the Ridges to open up by September or October and it looks like his hopes were met. 

Goldsmith provides a little more insight into what exactly the current parking study entails. 

“Daily on-site lot usage observations, gathering feedback and suggestions from community members (faculty, staff, and students), and meeting with relevant campus committees, organizations, and Senate groups alike,” he said. 

In her email, Weyant said they hope to have the parking updates released by the end of the semester. 

“The opening should immediately and positively impact parking crunches on campus. I recognize that it may be frustrating for the deck to open to resident students without other parking shifting back to faculty and staff parking. However, it is the best temporary solution given the early opening, while we finalize the parking study recommendations,” part of the email said. 

To address some possible concerns concerning the designs of the Ridges parking deck, David Todd, associate vice chancellor for Campus Operations, said the parking deck was constructed in 1998 and the recent closure only addressed routine maintenance items. 

“The design and manner in which the deck is used did not change. For example, entrances, exits, and the number of parking spaces all remain the same as before the deck was taken offline for maintenance,” Todd said. 

He also said they are open to suggestions on how to do things better.

 “We would welcome any feedback on how the current deck could be modified or how future parking decks could be designed or constructed to be more user friendly,” Todd said.