May 24, 2019 | 62° F

Future of Rutgers transportation plan includes 9 new parking structures

Photo by Jeffrey Gomez |

Rutgers University's Transportation Master Plan, which will be implemented over the course of the next decade, includes plans for 9 new parking decks, various maintenance projects and streets with improved circulation.

The University’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) work on College Avenue has been completed, but planning and construction of future transportation improvements will continue.

Work right now is ongoing by the Richard Weeks Hall of Engineering building, which includes the construction of a new segment of campus roadway that is part of the proposed Busch Loop Road, said Assistant Director of Rutgers Public and Media Relations Neal Buccino. This is aimed to improve vehicle and bus circulation in that area.

Soon, the University will break ground on the Athletic Performance Center next to the Rutgers Athletic Center on Livingston campus, which will include construction of a 545-stall parking structure, he said.

“There are transportation improvements proposed throughout the New Brunswick campus but they will not happen all at once,” Buccino said. “The Transportation Master Plan envisions the phased implementation of improvements over many years.”

The Transportation Master Plan is an element of the Rutgers 2030 Master Plan, which envisions the physical environment of the University 15 to 20 years into the future.

Full implementation of projects outlined in the plan, which includes transit hubs on campus, parking decks, bridges, dedicated bus lanes, pedestrian corridors and bikeways, will take decades.

Frank Wong, the assistant executive director of Rutgers Planning and Development, said in an email that considering the prolonged time-scale of the plan, many factors could alter the costing and implementation of projects.

“Placing price tags on all these projects at this point is something of an unnecessary exercise," he said. “We are more focused on costing of projects that are to be implemented in the short term.”

All things considered, the costs are not insignificant. Wong said that a single 500 car parking deck costs over $30 million to build, and the plan proposes at least nine of them.

Depending on the type of improvement being made, funding for capital construction of transportation modifications can come from a variety of sources, he said. Capital transportation projects built within the campus would typically be funded from University reserves, though.

Wong said that some infrastructure projects recommended by the TMP include improvements to non-University roads that link the campuses, such as Route 18 and intersections of local streets. To pay for these improvements, Rutgers would look to work with city, county and state agencies that have jurisdiction over those areas.

New parking structures could potentially pay for themselves by charging parking fees for those who want the convenience of parking in a deck than in a more remote parking lot, he said.

Additionally, Wong said that a number of bicycle and pedestrian improvements on campus have been funded through federal and state grants.

“Where possible, we would want to identify and secure any potential external funding sources for the plan,” he said.

In comparing parking operations and fee structures from institutions around the nation, the Rutgers Office of Planning and Development has gathered good background on how potentially to reorganize their operations in order to be more efficient, more equitable and more self-sustaining, Wong said.

The administration is getting consultation and advice in terms of funding from PFM, a large financial advisory firm, according to the TMP webpage

“No decisions have been made as we are still studying options,” he said. “We anticipate that this will take some time and more internal discussion before any action is taken.”

Stephen Weiss

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