General Parking Lot Frequently Asked Questions
Parking Lot Background
In surveys and information sessions over 10 years, students rated building a new parking lot as one of their top priorities for Olympic College. Parking has exceeded capacity because of the increase in students attending the College. Students have had difficulty finding space to park on the campus and on nearby residential streets. The funding for the new lot was part of the package that came with the new Humanities and Student Services Building. Funding for additional parking was requested from the state legislature to accommodate the increased capacity that the new building brings to campus.
How many spaces were added?
The College added a total of 249 parking stalls in the new lot including 14 ADA accessible parking stalls and 12 motorcycle stalls and 10 stalls reserved for electric vehicles. The electric vehicle stalls serve the rising number of electric cars in use within the area. A grant funded the installation of electric plug-in stations at Olympic College and at other sites across the Puget Sound region.
Why did you use so much landscaping in the parking lot?
Vegetation is one of the most effective methods to “clean” water polluted with contaminants such as oil, grease and toxic chemicals before it flows into local waterways. The solid surface of parking lots causes water to run along the top instead of absorbing into the ground. As it flows across the surface, the water picks up contaminants that spill or drip from cars and other sources. This polluted mixture flows directly into local waterways and can harm fish and wildlife, taint drinking water and impact recreational areas. To help limit pollution and reduce cleanup costs of local waters, Olympic College is leading the way to make water cleaner and safer using better designed parking lots and vegetation that filters pollution from water runoff. This natural system also has the benefit of reducing heat buildup in parking lots during the summer, buffering sound from traffic, reducing storm water over load, and looking more attractive than other pollution removal systems. In the case of the new parking lot, these systems are utilized to process runoff from a portion of Broadway Avenue and about a quarter of the Bremerton campus as well as the new parking lot itself.
During coordination efforts with the City of Bremerton and the Washington State Department of Transportation, we learned that there are plans to widen Warren Avenue. Since we did not want to waste resources constructing parking that would be demolished shortly, we planned for the widening and landscaped the impacted area with low groundcovers.
What other sustainability concerns were addressed in the new parking lot?
The new parking lot was selected as one of a150 pilot projects throughout the United States, Canada, Iceland and Spain to develop new sustainability standards for land development, similar to the LEED system for rating the sustainability of buildings. It was one of only four parking lots in this pilot program. Special design principles were applied which include all of the items mentioned above, as well as energy efficient LED lighting, safe pedestrian routes of travel and improved accessibility.
Aren’t all of these environmental efforts expensive?
The electric charging stations and all of the sustainability consulting required for the project were provided to Olympic College free of charge.
Additionally, using functional landscaping actually saved the College the money it would have been required to spend on underground water run-off processing system if the parking lot had maximized parking with a solid paved surface.
How can the College afford to build a parking lot in this economic climate?
The parking lot was paid for out of capital funds that were included with the construction of the Humanities and Student Services building. The funds were reserved to meet students’ priority of adding new parking spaces to the campus. Since the beginning of the economic downturn, the parking lot construction has provided support to the local economy by employing community businesses and their employees in the construction.
Capital funds are separate and cannot legally be combined with operating funds which pay for the day-to-day functions of the College. Utilization of capital funds does not impact the money available for instruction, student services, or administrative services at Olympic College.
Why are there raised crosswalks on Broadway Avenue?
The at-grade crosswalk on Broadway Avenue had been identified as a potentially hazardous pedestrian crossing for years due to the high volume of traffic (both people and cars), the speed of vehicles, and the turns within the road design. The raised crosswalks on Broadway slow traffic down to posted speeds and give drivers better visibility of pedestrians. In addition, the raised crossings provide a safer and more accessible route to cross Broadway for those with disabilities and/or limited mobility. Multiple cross walks disperse the number of pedestrians crossing the street and create safer vehicle speeds on the roadway.
In addition, the College is working with the City of Bremerton on installing a new traffic signal at 13th Street and Warren Avenue. The parking lot project included the widening of 13th Street in anticipation of this future traffic signal. Once operational, this new signal will allow traffic to avoid Broadway Avenue entirely decreasing traffic congestion at the intersection of 16th Street and Warren Avenue.
I’m worried about security. How can I feel safe in the new lot?
The new lot has excellent lighting and there are two emergency call boxes installed in the area.
We recommend that you continue to take the same precautions that you would use in any parking lot at Olympic College. To protect your car and property, you should lock your vehicle and secure any valuables out of site. Walk to and from your car with others whenever possible, and be aware of activities around you. You can also call Campus Safety at 475-7800, 24 hours a day if you need a safety escort to or from your vehicle.