Parking lot full of holes
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 21:10
They paved UVM and put up a parking lot. But this lot is designed to help the environment, not harm it.
The University’s first porous-surfaced parking lot was established this summer as an environmental endeavor and research tool for students, Director of Transportation and Parking Services Jim Barr said.
Barr joined Krebs & Lansing Consulting Engineers, Inc. to pioneer the approximately $300,000 project that is located behind the Trinity campus.
Barr said he had to work without piping on the Trinity campus and so the project’s total cost was much less than what it could have been.
“If I had put in all the storm drains and connections to the storm ponds, it would have cost an excessive half a million,” he said.
The parking lot serves as a great contribution to environmental sustainability, he said. It was skillfully engineered to make water and waste more easily disposable.
“The water now goes straight into the ground without collecting and going along drain pipes and down into erosion banks,” he said. “Debris and wastes won’t sheet across and enter the environment: they are vacuumed up and then we dispose of them that way.”
This project was a long time coming for Barr. He said he wanted to do something new and environmentally conscious instead of slabbing asphalt down all over campus.
“To me, that’s just not the way to move forward our whole philosophy and expansion,” he said. “I really wanted to do something other than the standard.”
Students will not experience an increase in tuition or costs with this new addition, Barr said.
“I was lucky enough to do this out of our internal budget,” he said.
Barr said he partnered with the College of Engineering for this project so that it could be used as a research tool for students studying porous concrete.
“[Professor Mandar Dewoolkar] and I chatted about it; I found a product, and then I helped fund the academic research part of it,” Barr said. “So this is going to serve as a research tool for the students for at least the next three years.”
Dewoolkar, associate professor and civil & environmental engineering program head, explained the distinctive qualities of the lot.
“The Trinity parking lot is first of its kind in Vermont,” Dewoolkar stated in an email. “It is half traditional and half pervious concrete, but the pervious part is made of removable slabs. These slabs can be lifted and cleaned as part of maintenance.”
Some engineering students will analyze the sensor measurements installed within the lot and relate their findings to maintenance practices, he said.
“A preliminary plan for the instrumentation was developed by a team of civil and environmental engineering seniors as part of their capstone project,” he said.
Graduate student Ian Anderson worked with Barr this summer on the project and expanded on Dewoolkar’s plans.
“The main focus of the study is to monitor the movement of water through the system,” he said.