Parking changes are in the works for Medical University employees

Surface parking for MUSC employees in lots along Hagood Avenue and Fishburne Street (pictured) and Lockwood Drive will be limited as construction begins on the WestEdge development project. CARTA will run buses on its route 203 to bring employees to the hospital and education buildings.

The Medical University of South Carolina’s tight parking is about to be squeezed a little more.

John Runyon, MUSC’s director of business services, said construction of the city’s new WestEdge development will have an impact on employee parking in surface lots on Lockwood Drive and along Hagood Avenue and Fishburne Street.

The parking plan has “many, many moving pieces,” he said. It will begin this month with workers closing off a portion of the Hagood and Fishburne lot, which now has nearly 800 spaces, so they can expand it onto adjacent property.

In the spring, the lot on Lockwood will begin to close, eventually removing more than 300 spaces from the university’s parking stock.

A new parking garage is in the works for the WestEdge development, Runyon said, and eventually the university will be able to replace the 300 spaces it lost on Lockwood with spaces in the new garage.

While all of the construction and shuffling of parking spaces is going on, he said, the university will lease a remote, satellite parking lot where employees can park. He doesn’t yet know the specific location, he said, but he will by Jan. 6.

“We’ll end up in a good place,” Runyon said. “We just have to live through the pain to get to a good place.”

The university now owns shuttle buses, which it uses to transport employees from the surface parking lots to the hospital or education buildings. Those shuttles will serve the new, remote lot starting in January, he said.

The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority’s bus route 203 currently runs along a similar, existing shuttle route, he said. CARTA has agreed to increase the number of buses it runs along that route so it can serve people who park in the Lockwood and Hagood and Fishburne lots. That will free the university’s shuttles to serve the remote parking lot.

University employees can ride the CARTA bus for free, he said. Employees pay for parking on a sliding scale based on their salaries.

WestEdge is a $1 billion public-private project that will replace surface parking lots with about a dozen buildings, including apartments, medical research space and retail.

The first two buildings at the 22-acre site on the west edge of the peninsula along Lockwood Drive — an eight-story apartment complex and an eight-story research and office building — are going through the permitting process.

Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.