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NU plans major new parking garage

Northwestern University plans to build a parking garage for up to 1,500 cars on a parking lot just west of the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatic Center complex on the campus.

The site is east of Sheridan Road and south of Lincoln Street near the city’s water plant.

University Vice President Eugene Sunshine told the NU-City Committee tonight that the university is trying to move as much parking as possible to the edge of campus to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“The site is also close to a major concentration of university offices,” Mr. Sunshine said, adding that the planned garage “will give a lot of capacity for our needs for quite some time.”

Plans for the garage, he said, are still being developed. It would probably eliminate about 200 of the 350 spaces in the open parking lot, for a net gain of up to 1,300 new parking slots.

He said the university doesn’t have any immediate plans to construct other parking garages, but said it might in the future consider building a garage on the open parking lot at Maple Avenue and Foster Street, north of the Engelhart Hall graduate dormitory.

Alderman Elizabeth Tisdahl, 7th Ward asked whether the new garage would lead to more traffic on nearby streets. “Traffic’s already pretty tight there now,” she said.

Mr. Sunshine said, “We have a walking zone for faculty, staff and students, and very strict limitations on cars for students who live on campus, and there are no plans to change that.”

Ronald Nayler, the university’s associate vice president for facilities management, said staff who live east of Sherman Avenue, south of Central Street and north of Lake Street are not eligible for permits to park on campus.

Mr. Nayler said the university’s plans to build an addition to the Searle Health Center at 633 Emerson St. are on hold temporarily while the Division of Student Affairs reassesses the health center program. He said it could be September or late October before conceptual plans for the expansion are prepared.

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