Commuters need not fear the loss of parking in the Dirt Lot, despite temporary changes made by the university. At the start of this past winter break, Temple’s Facilities Management department began moving dirt from one section of the Dirt Lot at Montgomery Avenue and 11th Street to cover the rest of the lot in hopes of smoothing it out. They also added yellow parking lines.
These alterations were necessary for the expansion of the steam plant, located at Montgomery Avenue and 10th Street, which received approval last year. Materials necessary for the expansion were brought in and temporarily stored in the Dirt Lot, and this could not be done without first smoothing out the rocky, uneven surface. Deliveries were laid down in the lot, and a crane was set up which needed level ground. This made it appear that construction was being done on the lot.
Deliveries for the steam plant will continue to arrive, and the parking lines were put down in hopes that it will be easier to section off part of the lot after classes begin and students resume parking in the Dirt Lot.
“The lines make it easier for now,” said Robert Buchholz, director of Facilities Management. “They probably won’t last more than a couple months.”
Because the lines are painted upon dirt and not pavement, the wear-and-tear on the lot will cause them to fade and eventually disappear.
“Everyone has pretty much stayed in between the lines so far,” Buchholz said. “I would think that lines would bring a little bit of order.”
Overall, the costs endured to temporarily maintain the lot were insignificant and deemed a necessity by Facilities Management.
“We tried to leave it in a little better condition then we found it,” Buchholz said.
He added that he hopes students and faculty will continue to be respectful of the lines put in place.
Many students, such as Samantha Perdick, a junior architecture major, have been severely inconvenienced by fellow students in the Dirt Lot in the past. Perdick was once parked in for six hours and forced to call off of work.
“I’m happy that they smoothed [the Dirt Lot] out because it was horrible,” Perdick said. “I think people will pay attention to the lines because everyone knows how much of a pain it is to get parked in.”
In regard to future construction on the lot, Temple has no say because they do not own the land. The lot is owned by 15 to 30 private owners who hold individual plot shares. While there was discussion of purchasing the lot many years ago, Temple has not made any recent effort to buy the land.
The owners of the lot most likely see maintaining it or contacting the city to enforce private property laws as more trouble than it may be worth. Therefore, the free parking students have taken advantage of at Montgomery Avenue and 11th Street will most likely remain available for years to come.
Kathryn A. López can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.