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Wrecking ball targets YSU deck

Published: Tue, February 17, 2009 @ 12:06 a.m.

By Harold Gwin

YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown State University’s Lincoln Avenue parking deck could be coming down in early 2010.

The university’s board of trustees has approved funding the demolition of the 1,278-space garage, known as M-2, and its replacement with a 375-space surface parking lot as part of the $47 million the board is borrowing to finance various campus improvement projects.

The tentative timetable for the demolition shows April 2010 as the target date to begin the parking lot project, although that could change.

The total price tag is estimated at $4.1 million.

The parking deck is structurally sound, said Danny O’Connell, YSU’s director of support services.

But it is old, built in 1972, with a limited lifespan, and the university has reached the point where it must decide to invest substantial money in renovating it, replacing it or tearing it down and going with surface parking, O’Connell said.

Replacement is cost prohibitive, John Hyden, executive director of facilities, recently told the trustees. That would cost an estimated $24 million, he said. Likewise, a suggestion to build parking underground at the site would be too costly, he said.

O’Connell said even a renovation would cost as much as $7 million and only give the deck another 10 to 15 years of useful life.

The plan to replace it with a surface lot would result in the loss of some 800 parking spaces, which the university is working to address before the deck is gone. No final decisions have been made, but perhaps a surface lot could be developed next to the Beeghly College of Education or property on the west side of Fifth Avenue or south of Lincoln Avenue could be used, O’Connell said.

The existing student parking lot on the north side of the Madison Avenue Expressway for those living in campus housing could also cover some of the Lincoln Avenue shortage, he said.

Only about 1,300 of the university’s 13,000 students live on campus. The rest are commuters.

There are slightly more than 6,100 parking spaces on campus now, but rarely are most of them more than about 90 percent occupied, except for the Lincoln Avenue deck which is generally full or nearly so from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. weekdays, according to a fall 2008 parking space count.

The university has set up a special committee to look at alternative methods of transportation for students, faculty and staff.

Paul Kobulnicky, executive director of YSU’s Maag Library, is the committee chairman. He said the group is examining issues and options of campus parking, pointing out that the Lincoln Avenue deck “is just one issue that is driving us.” There have been some discussions with the Western Reserve Transit Authority looking for ways to boost ridership by those coming to the university, Kobulnicky said.

Those range from giving regular bus service and bus stops better visibility on campus to adding a direct bus route through campus and even setting up “park and ride” central points, perhaps in Poland, Canfield and/or Boardman where faculty, staff and students could leave their vehicles and ride a bus to campus, he said.

There’s also been some discussion around creating a “ride share” program, sort of an automated car pool system that would allow people coming to campus to link up and ride with others, he said.

There was a sudden upsurge in the number of bicycles and motorcycles being ridden to campus when gasoline reached $4 a gallon, demonstrating a clear need for more facilities for those modes of transportation, Kobulnicky said.

Although student enrollment is growing, the university would like to see fewer cars, Hyden said.

There are a lot of people coming to campus alone in their cars, said YSU spokesman Ron Cole, adding that sharing rides and making use of public transportation would help the campus effort to be “greener.”



1ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

There are already chronic parking shortages and this will make it much worse. Sure not all of the current parking spaces are being used, as some are so far from campus as to be laughable. It would take a one mile uphill hike to get from parking in Smoky Hollow to buildings on the west side of campus.

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2apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

There was a chronic parking shortage 20 years ago. Glad to see the administration is still studying it.

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3RalphWilliams(3 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

It seems the real chronic shortage at YSU is non-lazy people willing to walk a short distance.

In other words,

Get over it.

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4NoBS(2506 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

YSU does have "spoiled" students and others, who really don't know what they have when they complain about parking. They need to go to a big school, where you can park a mile or so from your classes, and nobody gives a darn.


Let me see if I understand what the Great Thinkers are doing at YSU. They want to demolish, at over $4 million (and you know the actual cost will be much higher), a structurally sound parking deck. They admit they're going to lose about 800 parking places (actually, it's 900 spaces. Who can't do math - YSU, the Vindy, or both?), and they admit they don't know what to do about that. Surface parking is inefficient and consumes a huge amount of space.

Here's the answer, YSU: MAKE THE NECESSARY REPAIRS AND KEEP UP ON THE MAINTENANCE!!! There's no reason the structure will last "only" another 10 - 15 years, if upkeep is done BEFORE it's at the crisis stage.

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5Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot SPOT
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don't know what you’ve got
‘Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

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6scrooge(563 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

"but rarely are most of them more than about 90 percent occupied, except for the Lincoln Avenue deck which is generally full or nearly so from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. weekdays"
Seems like if that deck is one of the most used it should be a no-brainer to fix it.
Or, how about a new parking structure on the surface lot on fifth Ave beside McDonalds? That would also help with events at the stadium or Beeghly.

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7cityguy(109 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Actually I think the problem is that it is not "structurally sound" I don't know why they can't also level all of the crap houses they own around Ford ave, put in some parking lots there and a safe walkway over Fifth avenue. NoBs is right though about "spoiled" students--where I went to school freshmen and sophomores weren't even allowed to have cars on campus, so if you lived off campus you took the bus, biked or walked-- and this was in New Hampshire where the weather is just as bad.

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8Jeremiah(3 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

NoBS, yes I know big university parking problems, also know of big city traffic, thats one of the nice things about YSU & Valley, they're not big.

But do agree with the rest of your comment.

Why eliminate a sound parking facility to put in another eyesore surface lot that will only accomodate a quarter of the current popular deck. Fix it.

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9aeparish(669 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

I'm not so sure how many of you have attended YSU and had to experience far walks to and from your classes. I'm also not sure how long ago any of you had to do this, if you had to.

But the way that Youngstown is right now is not as safe as it once was. I don't blame anyone for not wanting to walk a far distance to and from classes. I don't care what anyone says -- that campus is not as safe as everyone makes it out to be.

So, it's not so much of a laziness issue (at least not for me), but it's a safety issue as far as I'm concerned.

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10here(17 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

I take mostly evening classes, so finding a spot is never an issue for me, but the main reason I continue to pay for a parking pass is because of the convenience of the decks, especially in the winter. I love not having to worry about cleaning of my car, and even having to walk just one block less makes a big difference to me when its 0 degrees when I get out of class close to 10pm. A few more seconds of shelter from the wind is nice as well.

Though I'd happily use public transportation if they're serious about making it feasible.

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11DAVE(23 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

sustantially reducing the one parking lot that is full by 8 am, without another plan. Hmmm......
what about football games at the stadium. Hmmm...
maybe this could be a project for a class at ysu.

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12boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

OSU has a system where the student id is also a bus pass, they just charge each student an etra fee on top of tuition. Why not give that a go?

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13apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

How's this for progress? Put classes on the web adn allow kids to attend class from the comfort of their home? Then parking is no longer an issue. Nah, this is Youngstown who still thinks the internet is a passing fad.

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14aeparish(669 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

First of all, I refuse to ride in a WRTA bus, much less be charged an extra fee on top of tuition in order to do so. It's bad enough that I'll be paying extra for everything else I buy so that those stupid busses can operate.

And OSU is a different story anyhow. It's a much bigger campus with many more students. Like city_dweller said, there are far less people who attend YSU, not to mention the campus is way smaller.

I agree that something needs to be done about the M2 lot. It is a death trap and is deteriorating exponentially. But, to get rid of it altogether is just ridiculous. Something other than a flat lot definitely needs to be built in its place -- fast.

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15saysithowitiz(98 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Is the YSU campus area really that bad? I don't think so. When's the last time YSU had a kidnapping , a shooting or even a car jacking? The Ohio State University campus is much worse in terms of crime... thats where even the Youngstown criminals go to conduct their business, ie. Clarett and Irazary.

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16ysugirl913(14 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Am I the only person who drives from Poland with a toddler in the car who goes to the day care on campus? Probably, but there are more of my kind. I can not and will not take a bus even if it were offered because of my childs safety (installing a car seat on a bus? if they even have safety belts!) I already have to park in temporary parking in front of fedor to drop him off and then drive to the other side of campus to park in the lincoln deck for class. I have taken many night classes, I always take them and I don't feel particulary safe when class gets out. I always park in the decks and try to buddy up with someone on my way out. Tearing down the most used deck would be criminal. I have pulled in there at least once a week and not been able to snag a spot and then driven around the surface lot across the street for 10 minutes. The parking problem is real. And hey allstar, not everyone lives at home with mommy and daddy... most of us support ourselvs and prefer to live in places where stray bullets don't end up in our living rooms. This is the reality of Youngstown, if you don't agree ask any of the college students who do live in that area. Demolishing that deck will not help the image of a school that already charges more than other schools (Cleveland State, a commuter school!) to park.
I'm just saying.

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17aeparish(669 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Allstar, until Youngstown gets rid of the trash and the crime, no one is going to take you up on that offer. Especially not females, who are even more at risk for being victims of crime.

As much as I'd love to live in one of those (once) beautiful homes on 5th and walk down the street to my classes, it's not happening any time soon. Instead, I'll stick with living in the apartment in the suburbs that I work for to afford, and I will drive down to YSU and park in a parking spot that I am paying $2.60 a day to park in.

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18Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Can I get a stimulus grant for a parking deck at my house? What is wrong with the parking deck at YSU? It is still useable. I thought that times were tough now.

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19saysithowitiz(98 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Still waiting for someone to provide us with the crime statistics for the YSU campus or maybe evn a personal story. What's that, you can't find any or know any.... sounds like some people on here are over-exaggerating how bad Y-town really is.

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20Eastsider7(9 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

I cannot wait for the day after they tear the parking deck down. I will be so much fun to watch 900 cars scrambling for a space where none can be found. Hello YSU! Its a COMMUTER SCHOOL! Why not at least build a new deck across Fifth Avenue? Make a pedestrian walkway like the one that crosses Wick. No THAT'S a PLAN. But for now lets just ignore the needs of students who commute to YSU and have fun watching them scream as they are late for classes.

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21One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

aeparish, do you actually ever spend ANY time here, or do you make up this trash talk as you go.

I do, in fact live in one of those old homes on 5th Ave. and spend most all of my time on campus, the North Side and Downtown. You are not only grossly mistaken, you are perpetuating the same BS that causes most of the problems here.

It's an amazing thing to hear all these clairvoyant folks like you and Grump tell me all about an area that you spend no actual time in at all, but know much more about than people like me who live/work and play here all of the time. It must be nice to never actually have to prove any of the tripe that you people continually spit out.

The YSU campus is no more unsafe than your own back-yard.

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22Eastsider7(9 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

That is correct. You and your vehicles are safer at YSU than when you park your car at the mall! The YSU police are great even though in some cases there is not much they can do when there is car damage. But this is the same anywhere and in any case where the person has left the scene without a plate no., description or anything for any police dept. to go on. Wherever you are in any city you need to be smart about where you walk and at what time of day, etc. It is no different at YSU than it is anywhere.

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23Grog(13 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

The deck is sound now, but it will not be for long and must go, probably within 5 years. It is at the end of its design life with escalating mainenance costs and decreasing safety forcing its closure if not torn down. Parking decks are very expensive and short lived, relatively speaking. As a student (structural engineering) at YSU in the 80's and again in the 90's, I usually parked by MVR and walked, but being a decent sized guy I did not worry too much and never had any problems. I can understand concerns of young ladies walking alone or people with children. Getting a degree is all about overcoming obstacles. I would hope the university can help out by adding more parking, but its up to the students to do what it takes to get themselves to class.

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24gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

I graduated YSU March 1977. Lived and worked on the Northside. Attended mostly evening and Saturday classes. Parking was a problem then, as well as personal safety. [even for men]
My husband and I both carried guns for protection,
which I actually did have to threaten to use.
[in broad day-light on Wick Avenue]
It seems to me that NOTHING has changed at YSU.
Alot goes on that is NOT reported.
We feel safer in NYC, LA, San Francisco & other major cities.
Wake up, people.

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25MikePrelee(38 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

The football stadium, education building, DeBartolo Hall and the new business school will all be close to where Lincoln deck is located. It makes no sense to tear it down and only provide a surface lot in that space. Something the size of the Wick deck should be built there.

I wonder if every option has been explored or if the campus administration thinks that walking 20 or 30 minutes to class is no big deal? After all, many of them have staff parking in reserved lots near their buildings.

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26UniAtTheCornerofLincolnAve(2 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

I would hope the administration doesn't replace the deck with surface parking once it is torn down. The administration should open up the resident parking lot near Ursuline to everybody. Yes, that one across the freeway. If you were so inclined, i.e. lazy or scared of the "criminals," take the Penguin Shuttle outside of Kilcawley Center by Beeghly and it will pick you up and drop you off at the parking lot.

And the only way it would take 20-30 minutes to walk from one end of campus to the other is if a bear gnawed your legs off and you crawled to the other end.

Use that space to replace the decrepit Moser or Cushwa Halls.

YSU '08

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27jkf573(12 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

On top of that, allstar, if you're a working student, and most are, you'd give up 2.75% of your income in Youngstown City income tax by moving from Boardman or Austintown to Youngstown. What working student can afford that?

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28aeparish(669 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

I spend two days a week down there, thank you.

And before you ask -- why not more?

Because I have to work 40 hours a week on top of school to put myself through college.

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29alphatango08(1 comment)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

I went to YSU during high school, and I can say that the Lincoln deck needs to be replaced. The one that's there is totally outmoded as far as its design goes. Space is dangerously tight. And the university needs it to be replaced by another deck. Surface lots are incredily inefficient. They need to be smarter than that when it comes to utilizing space.

That said, people at YSU need to stop complaining about parking. They have NO idea whatsoever about what a "bad" parking situation is, nor do they have any right to complain about a $160 per year permit. At Ohio State (where I'm a student), the regular permit for a student costs $321 for a year, and this only gives someone rights to park in a lot that is more than a mile away from campus, across both a river and a freeway. You have to ride the campus bus system to get there. To park on Central Campus costs $498, and to get rights to park in a garage is $585, and you have to be placed in a lottery to obtain that particular permit. Also, citations cost $50, which is more than most any other university. So, I don't really think anyone at YSU has a right to complain. I walk further to one class than most of them walk in a day.

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