Future dorm construction closes Forbes partial surface parking

Emma Polen | News Editor | While construction begins on the new student dorms on Forbes Avenue — next to the Power Center and Moonlit Burgers — the surface lot where construction will take place is closed permanently. The prospective finish date for the project is the fall of 2024.

Emma Polen | News Editor

Jan. 5, 2023

Beginning this month construction commences for Duquesne’s newest student apartments project, closing the surface parking lot next to the Power Center.

The new apartments will replace the surface parking in the area on the 1000 block of Forbes Avenue between the Power Center and the current construction project for the School of Osteopathic Medicine. The new 12-story student dormitories and the School of Osteopathic Medicine are both planned for a Fall 2024 opening.

Officially, the Forbes Avenue surface parking lot closed indefinitely on Dec. 20, according to an email from Duquesne sent to all members of the university.

Liam Grinnen, senior business major, believes the parking lot closure will cause problems for students with vehicles on campus.

“I for sure will [be affected] because I usually use the surface parking,” he said.

Junior commuter student Tim Walmsley called the lot closure “incredibly inconvenient.”

“I’m angry I paid $800 for a surface and garage parking pass when they were going to take the largest surface parking lot away.”

The most obvious signs of the lot’s disuse are the wooden road barriers and “lane closed” sign that prohibit entry for non-authorized vehicles.

The university does not anticipate any parking issues in Spring 2023 as a result of the parking lot closure, according to university spokesman Gabriel Welsch.

“The university did a number of traffic studies,” said Tim Gigliotti of PA real estate development Radner Property Group, “and have determined that even with losing access to these spaces, there’s adequate parking on campus to accommodate the demands.”

In addition, Welsch stated in an email that first-year students will no longer have the option to purchase a campus parking pass.

“Starting in fall 2023, we will revert to our pre-Covid policy of first-year students not being able to park on campus,” he said.

In a way, this will decrease the demand for parking spaces beginning next school year.

At the site of the closed surface lot, construction for the 11-story student apartment building will commence in early January, Welsch said.

Gigliotti will oversee the apartment building plan. He explained what will initially take place at the construction site.

First, the lot will be excavated for foundation, and then the building’s foundation will be put in place.

“By April or May, you should start to see the actual [steel frame] underway,” Gigliotti said.

During active excavation and construction, “We do not forecast much of a change [to Forbes Avenue traffic],” he said.

While Forbes traffic might not see much change, pedestrian crossings on the avenue will be temporarily affected.

“We will be closing the sidewalk on that side of the street,” Gigliotti said.

Forbes Avenue entrances to Moonlit Burgers and the Power Center will still be accessible, but the sidewalk in front of the surface parking lot will be blocked off.

Construction will continue five to six days a week until the project is finished in 2024, according to Gigliotti.

The new dormitory plan also includes 226 apartment-style units and housing for approximately 550 upperclassmen and graduate students.

According to a news release from the university, the construction has plans for amenity spaces, bike parking, a fitness area and outdoor courtyards.

Reporting from The Duke previously found that the courtyard in the apartment plan will allow the passage of vehicles through the space, but will not serve as a permanent parking place.

“A few parking spots will be created around the new living learning center once main construction is complete,” Welsch said in an email.

“This project shouldn’t change much to any of the average commuters or for any of the students coming in and out of campus on a daily basis,” Gigliotti said.

In their email announcing the parking lot closure in December, Duquesne reminded all university permit holders that they may access either the Forbes or Locust Garage on campus with their gate card/proximity badge.

Permit holders also can park in any designated surface space or lots throughout campus.