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New Parking Structure Part of a Larger Vision for a Greener, More Pedestrian-Friendly Campus

Pomona College's new parking structure
Visit our Flickr set to see photos of the new south campus parking garage.
New Pomona College south campus parking structure

A new parking structure, one part of a years-long process to create a greener and more pedestrian-friendly Pomona College campus, opened on July 12, 2011. The new South Campus Parking Structure, located on First Street between Columbia Avenue and Amherst Avenue, is a three-level building that will provide parking for more than 600 vehicles, as well as a soccer and lacrosse field located on the upper level.

“It is hard to imagine being excited about a parking structure, but the new South Campus structure is, without a doubt, exciting,” says President David Oxtoby. “The transition between the structure, the landscaping, and the walkways into south campus is beautiful, and the materials and features--such as electric vehicle charging stations--move the campus forward in our sustainability goals.”

The garage is located on sloping land, so that the structure is partially underground with the First Street side exposed. The architect on the project, which was funded through bonds issued in 2008 and cost $21 million, was Watry Designs of Redwood City, Calif.

Some of the key sustainability features of the new structure include:

  • Electricity: It is the first parking structure on the West Coast to use LimeLight, a wireless lighting control system that senses motion. Lights are turned down in the evening, but increase to full power one floor ahead as a person walks or drives through the structure, ensuring that lights are only used when needed, while still providing a safe environment. Also, solar PV arrays on the athletic field provide shade for spectators and should provide much of the electricity needed for the structure.
  • Water: The structure has high-efficiency restroom plumbing fixtures and irrigation equipment; drought-resistant native landscaping; and bioswales, which naturally treat storm water and other water and return it to the natural aquifer.
  • Alternative transportation: The structure has bike racks, priority parking for carpools and six electric vehicle-charging stations.
  • Reclaimed building materials: The exterior of the structure features rocks unearthed during the excavation of the site of the new North Campus Residence Halls. The cobble cladding using these river rocks is reflective of a popular style found throughout Claremont, including our own Brackett Observatory, and in the nearby Russian Village on Mills Avenue.

The goal of creating a greener and more pedestrian-friendly campus was added to the Campus Master Plan in 2007 with the approval of the Board of Trustees. Other programs that encourage the reduction of cars on campus are the Zipcar program, a discounted rate for Supershuttle service to airports, the Green Bike shop and rental program, and the folding bike rental program. Since the 2008-09 school year, first-year students have not been allowed to bring cars to campus.

Campus Parking Changes

With more than 600 new spaces opening, several other parking areas will be used by the College for new projects or will be landscaped.

Parking changes will include:

  • Bonita Avenue between College Avenue and the Seaver Theatre is now designated for staff and faculty parking only.
  • The Alexander Hall lot is now converted to visitor parking, and numerous areas designated for handicapped parking, as well as passenger drop-off, throughout campus .
  • Starting July 12, 2011, Dartmouth Avenue between Bonita Avenue and Second Street (i.e., the street between Harwood Court and Mudd-Blaisdell) and part of Second Street will close to parking and traffic.
  • As of Aug. 1, 2011, Fourth Street between College Avenue and College Way will be closed to traffic and parking. The parking lots of Bridges Auditorium, Seaver Theatre, Oldenborg, Kenyon and Haldeman Pool will also close.
  • There will continue to be handicapped spaces, visitor spaces and drop-off sites in key locations near the center of campus, including the Sumner Hall lot.

Including the parking garage beneath the North Campus Residence Halls, which is for staff, faculty and students only, there will still be a net gain of 220 spaces after closing these areas to parking.

As for upcoming projects using the newly opened spaces, the new studio art building will be located in the Seaver Theatre parking lot, and the Oldenborg lot will be used for construction staging. The Bridges lot will be repurposed and landscaped, and the Fourth Street area will be incorporated into a new design for Marston Quad.

Notably, the streets near the structure have also changed, which is not yet reflected on mapping systems like Google Maps. On older maps, the structure is shown with Amherst Avenue bordering the structure to the east and north, and no street at all on the west. Now, the structure is bordered by Columbia on the west, which extends up to Bonita, and Amherst on the east, which dead-ends at the loading dock of Seaver Theatre. The area to the north of the structure is filled with pedestrian walkways.

The garage can be accessed from campus via Bonita and Columbia and from Claremont city streets via Bonita and First. The Amherst entrance will be opened on an as needed basis.

“The overall environment and feel of the campus will change for the better, with more green space and more pedestrian walkways. Any additional walking time from the parking spaces to buildings will be both minimal and feasible in Claremont’s ideal climate,” says Oxtoby. “I look forward to this transition, and to the positive impact on our already-beautiful campus, our community and our commitment to sustainability.”