Texas community college with free parking would replace new velodrome with parking garage.
The Superdrome in Frisco, Texas built twelve years ago is a 100,000 square foot, $15 million 250 meter outdoor wood bicycle racing track. It’s a valued asset to the local cycling community with variety of events, including world-class competitions and weekly racing series. Teams from around the world use the Superdrome for training, and the facility is quickly becoming one of the nation’s primary sites for research on cycling and aerobic acitivity. The general public is also welcome to use the facility for training and for corporate events and meetings.
And the local community college wants to tear it down and replace it with a parking garage.
The Superdrome lies in a sprawling far northern suburb of Dallas, TX on property owned by Collin College, the community college serving Collin and Rockwall counties. Enrollment at the Preston Ridge campus in Frisco has been growing, and campus administrators say more parking is needed to accommodate the student growth. Preston Ridge Provost Toni Jenkins says parking is a more efficient use of this land than a bike facility.
As you can see on the campus image below, parking already dominates the Preston Ridge campus in Frisco. The Superdrome is the little oval to the east.
Collin College charges nothing for student and staff parking, and wants the city of Frisco to pay for parking if the city rejects the plan to tear down the Superdrome.
Most opposition to any new parking garage seems to come from residents near the college. To overcome this neighborhood opposition, the college proposed this Superdrome demolition as an alternative.
When it comes to solutions to their parking dilemma, college administrators seem to demonstrate an astonishing lack of imagination in their parking options, most of which revolve around the idea of “build more.” If I can present some ideas for Provost Toni Jenkins:
- If you’re concerned about efficient land use, how efficient is all of that free car storage space that’s not even generating tax revenue? At least charge for that real estate. You have a parking problem because you provide a valuable asset (real estate) that costs nothing in exchange. Fight the entitlement mentality of your freeloading students, staff, faculty and administrators and charge market rates!
- Collin County has a rudimentary, privately run public transit system. This limits your students’ transportation choices. Many local colleges with similar parking problems work with the local transit provider and even provide funding to get students to class. Give transit passes to staff and faculty as a benefit, and improve local transit at the same time. Win for the college, win for local transit, win for your students, and win for local residents.
- Encourage students and staff to bike to work. I know it’s hot in Texas, but I managed to bike to college and work when I lived there.
- For specific examples of how colleges work with the community to solve parking issues, see this page on trip reduction programs for college campuses.
- Read Donald Shoup’s book The High Cost of Free Parkingfor real world examples of how to improve your parking situation. If you contact me I’ll even send you a free copy.
- For even more ideas, search the Interwebs for “Transportation Demand Management.”
I attended a small university in Texas, and back then I was dumbfounded by the number of students who drove literally half a mile from the dorm parking lot to a nearby shopping mall.
- WFAA news: Frisco bicycle track could be torn down for parking lot.
- Frisco Cycling Club: Superdrome Could Be Demolished.
- Shawnee Trail Cycling Club: Keep the Frisco Superdrome.