Requiem for a parking lot

Requiem for a parking lot

The expanse of pavement on Jefferson Park Avenue, known as the “JPA Lot” or B1 lot, currently encased in barricades and temporary fencing, through which backhoes dig, was once a thing of beauty. Or, if not a thing of beauty, a thing of lovely utility.

During the week, the 247-space lot across from Cabell Hall was a crossroads for students walking to class from the popular residential areas off JPA, providing an excellent, if awkward, meeting place with Arts & Sciences professors parking their cars: “Is that your Corolla?”

At its most handsome, the lot showcased dozens of formally clad musicians jogging to make concert call, dragging their cellos or warming up their voices as snow fell lightly over Grounds.

Where once was ease and comfort in this UVA parking lot, bound only by “Permits Required, Monday-Friday, 7:30am-5pm,” now rumble electrical cranes accompanied by the rustle of orange construction tape.

But alas, beloved B1 closed for good June 22. The $105 million South Lawn Project will soon bring 110,000 square feet of academic space to all that precious pavement.

The change presents a parking problem for patrons of Old Cabell Hall—and the various organizations that rent out the acoustically superior auditorium—since classical music audiences seem to have a higher per capita need for handicapped parking.

Richard Will, interim chair of the music department, says the department has worked with UVA to develop a plan. “We are hoping…that we see no significant drop-off in our attendance,” Will says.

Yet his comments reflect little of the frustration felt among music administrators, with whom the mention of the South Lawn Project inevitably draws raised eyebrows and a sigh. R.I.P., B1.

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