Markle Parking Deck to be demolished in a month as Phase 2 of renovations begins

Because+of+the+plans+to+rebuild+the+Markle+Parking+Deck%2C+the+houses+in+red+will+be+demolished+in+mid-December+to+create+temporary+parking+spots.+%28Photo+by+Trebor+Maitin+24%29

Because of the plans to rebuild the Markle Parking Deck, the houses in red will be demolished in mid-December to create temporary parking spots. (Photo by Trebor Maitin ’24)

Trebor Maitin, Staff Writer

Plans to rebuild the Markle Parking Deck are in full swing with demolition slated to begin in December and construction planned to be completed in Aug. 2022, according to Director of Facilities and Operations Scott Kennedy. However, this project will rob the college of the 330 parking spaces Markle boasts. 

To accommodate for these lost spaces, the College plans to demolish the buildings located at 101-133 McCartey St., 518-524 March St., and 518 Hart Street beginning in mid December to create a temporary parking lot, according to a letter sent to residents living nearby on Oct. 26.

The lot will be constructed at the site of the future McCartney Street student housing development, originally scheduled to break ground in 2024 as a part of the Phase 2 expansion plan. It is unknown when the dorm–which is separate from McCartney North and South–will begin construction.

The site of the future lot is also home to COVID-19 housing and the Landis Center, along with the vacant buildings which once housed Campus Pizza and Cosmic Cup. A college-owned garage located at 518 Hart Street will also be demolished in order to widen the road.

Chelsea Cefalu, associate director of the Landis Center, said that her team was informed of the accelerated timeline at the beginning of the semester.

“Everyone housed at March Street will be moving to the third floor of Feather House on Nov. 19. We are treating the move as semi-permanent,” Cefalu said of the relocation. “I think I can speak for all of the staff at 522 March Street when I say that we will miss our storefront.”

As for the covid housing, Vice President of Campus Life Annette Diorio wrote in an email that the college “planned to supplement the loss of the beds due to the demolition on McCartney by utilizing some blocked rooms at a local hotel.”

“Right now we are holding the rooms through the end of the semester and will explore spring in the coming weeks,” Diorio added.

The loss of the Landis Center storefront and covid housing may be the least of the worries of Lafayette students and staff, as the temporary lot being constructed in their place will only be able to accommodate 90 vehicles, according to Kennedy.

“We’re trying to open up more space down in the 901 [Bushkill] parking lot where my building is,” Kennedy said. “We’re talking about possibly having people park down on the [William’s] Arts campus. There’s some side warehouses we own [as well]. None of these things are concrete yet.”

Bruce Hill, Lafayette’s parking and transportation specialist, said that some “tough decisions” were going to need to be made regarding where to open up parking, adding that he also did not know what exactly will be done, but that a decision will be made by the end of the month.

One anonymous Public Safety official with knowledge of the college’s decision-making noted that Lafayette may not be able to accommodate all of the displaced vehicles even with the Bushkill and William’s locations taken into account, adding that the Bushkill location is already filled with vehicles with fall-only parking passes and that the Arts Campus lot is used during performances.

Additionally, the college is in talks to reserve 30 of the 90 spaces in the McCartney temporary lot for guest parking, further limiting parking availability for the 200 plus staff members and faculty–ranging from Dining Services to the Bailey Health Center to the Engineering department–who use the Markle Parking Deck. Those students parking at Markle or 901 Bushkill who received fall-only parking passes, of which there are around 200, may not be able to park on campus during the spring semester due to displaced staff needing to find parking, according to the anonymous official. 

The situation is further complicated by the unknown number of students who are either graduating in December or who are studying abroad now or wish to next spring. College staff, and then seniors, are first in line to receive parking passes, so there is a possibility that some students who received a permanent parking pass at Sullivan parking deck may be relocated, according to an anonymous Public Safety.

Hill added that some students who anticipated parking difficulties in the spring opted to purchase parking spaces from the City of Easton. Parking downtown for the four-month spring semester costs $280, $55 more than a one-semester pass from the college.