Kaye Burnet | Asst. News Editor
Duquesne’s parking garages are getting an update, with automated gates and five new pay stations replacing the current equipment in the Forbes and Locust garages over the summer.
Bryan Matrazzo, parking manager at Duquesne, said the changes will begin June 1 and will take approximately one month to implement fully.
With the new system, parking permit holders will be able to use “proximity cards” to activate lift gates at the entrances and exits of both garages and both surface parking lots on Forbes Avenue, Matrazzo said. According to Matrazzo, a proximity card can be used without inserting it into a reader, as required by traditional magnetic stripe cards, which will lead to “more fluid entry and exit from the parking facilities.”
Evelyn Negri-Albert is a commuting student at Duquesne who holds a permit for the Locust Garage. She said it can be difficult to enter the garage sometimes with the current card-swipe system.
“It’s kinda hard to swipe, because I’m a tiny person,” Negri-Albert said. “I usually have to open my door a little to reach.”
According to Negri-Albert, traffic entering the garage can “get a little backed up” during some parts of the day as people try to swipe their cards to enter. She said she prefers it when a parking attendant is stationed at the entrance to wave drivers through so they do not have to stop and swipe.
“Sometimes, it doesn’t even work, and I have to swipe it more than once,” Negri-Albert said.
As a result of the upgrades, the parking workforce will shrink from nine full-time workers to just three, according to Matrazzo, who said the updates will save the University $1.5 million over the next 10 years. Matrazzo said workers who lose their jobs will be encouraged to apply for other positions at the university. Part-time staffers will increase from two to five.
Parking and Traffic Management will be able to use the new gates to track the flow of traffic in and out of parking lots and garages, Matrazzo said.
“The technology will provide us with real-time data on parking patterns within our garages,” Matrazzo said, “giving us the ability to be more proactive in managing the operations.”
The updates are the result of eight months of planning between Auxiliary Services and Parking and Traffic Management.