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01.22.14 – Assistant Professor Michael Piper takes the ParkingPLUS Design Challenge

The Long Island Index — an organization that gathers and publishes data on the Long Island region — recently held a ParkingPLUS Design Challenge, inviting prominent architecture firms to re-imagine how parking lots in the region's downtowns could better address residents' needs. Long Island's downtowns are home to more than 4,000 acres of surface parking lots, space that could be redesigned to be made more vibrant, welcoming, and useful.

The firms' designs were unveiled on January 16 at the Performing Arts Center at Adelphi University.

Daniels Faculty Assistant Professor Michael Piper's firm, dub Studios, was commissioned to create one of the designs. Piper's team included recent Daniels Faculty graduate and current instructor Ultan Byrne.

Piper and his team proposed a new, modestly sized parking deck in the village of Patchogue. Airy, open, and easy to access, the parking deck would be connected to a shared parking system called "Brackets." A new way-finding system consisting of automated signage, lighting, and landscape improvements would direct drivers to lots with free spaces, making it easier for people to find available parking. The team's design would not only make the area more pleasurable to walk though, it would also promote better usage of the current supply of scattered surface parking lots.

"You can actually build fewer parking spaces because you're using them more intelligently," Piper explained to FiOS1 news.

Roger Sherman, co-director of the cityLAB at UCLA, who taught a studio course at the Daniels Faculty last semester, also headed up one of the four teams that participated in the challenge. Sherman's team transformed a 30-acre surface parking lot in the town of Ronkonkoma into a family-focused, all-season recreational park complete with soccer fields, a hockey rink, mini-golf, a driving range, a go-cart track, and cricket field stadium. Because the parking lot is adjacent to a regional airport as well as a commuter rail station, Sherman's design for the park also includes a covered outdoor space sheltering a train platform and a parking structure for an airport shuttle stop.  

“The ParkingPLUS Design Challenge is intended to spark a vibrant conversation in Long Island and nationally about new ways of thinking about parking structures and their relationship to downtown suburban settings,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, President of the Rauch Foundation, which started the Long Island Index. “While the designs are specific to particular locations, they are intended to generate a broader discussion about the ideal attributes of future parking structures.”

For more information, visit the Long Island Index website.