College unveils new parking plan

By Robert Riches
September 6, 2012

The College recently completed a new plan to overhaul their current parking situation, which is scheduled to be presented to the Radnor Planning Commission on Oct. 2 at the Radnor Township Municipal Building.

The plan is a revision of one that was proposed back in February that was ultimately shelved by the Radnor Planning Commission.

“Radnor residents, neighbors and the Planning Commission thought it was a great plan for Cabrini, but a horrible plan for the community,” Howard Holden, director of Facilities, said. “’Go back and do your homework and come back to us with another plan,’” Holden said the commission told the college.

The original plan was to build a 740-space parking structure off of Eagle Road. However, the community and Planning Commission were skeptical of the plan, believing that it would create a bigger hazard on the already hazardous Eagle Road.

“We don’t have that much developable land,” Holden said. “There’s a lot of steep slopes on the exterior, as well as two watersheds that run through the campus.”

After the plan was shelved, the College was faced with the challenge of coming up with a new task.

“We went back and said ‘where is the best place to put this structure?’”

After a summer of planning, the College came up with a new idea.

“Rather than a 740-space structure, we’re building a simpler structure just adjacent to Residential Drive,” Holden said. “It’s a much lower structure, it’s only two-tiered for about 300 spaces.”

In addition to the simpler structure, the College also intends to build a separate structure over at the Dixon Center parking lot.

“We said we’d take out the lower Dixon lot and we build a structure there for about 375 cars,” Holden said.

So far, the new plan seems to generate some positive buzz from Radnor Township.

“[Radnor Township] said that it was a much better plan and they liked it because there’s no access coming in off of Eagle Road,” Howard said. “That’s the thing they hated- the driveway from Eagle Road and the massive size of the original structure.”

While the neighbors and township seem to like the plan for now, there are still several steps to go through for approval. If all goes according to plan, the structure at the Dixon Lot can be completed as early as Summer 2013.

“Our plan now is to go back to the Planning Commission at the beginning of October for preliminary approval,” Holden said. “After we do a preliminary approval, then we have to go back and do a final approval. Then we go to the Board of Commissioners and it’s the same thing-preliminary and final approval.”

Holden is optimistic that the approval process could last no longer than several months.

“What we’re hoping is that we can get through all that by Feb. or March,” Holden said. “Our first project would be to build the structure in the lower Dixon lot and hopefully we can do that this summer. If we can get that built, the following summer we would build the southern parking structure.”

The College’s Master Plan is expected to be a 14-year process, but a critical component of it could begin soon as long as it could be preliminarily approved at the Oct. 2 meeting.

“It’s an aggressive schedule, but that’s what our hopes are,” Holden said.

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Robert Riches

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