Local

May 10, 2012

Commissary parking lot construction underway

Story and photos by Tanja Linton
Media Relations Officer

Demolition of the first half of the commissary parking lot construction project began Monday. The project is estimated to be completed by September.

The Commissary is getting a new parking lot which will not only better help serve store patrons, but will also be environmentally friendly.

The low impact design for the new commissary parking lot will not only make the area more attractive, it will also increase the number of parking spaces, capture six to eight acre-feet of storm water recharge and be more energy efficient.

The current parking lot is an old design with insufficient drainage that has been repaved many times.  During monsoon rains, customers frequently had to wade through up to two feet of water to reach the commissary entrance said Kim Mulhern, Environmental and Natural Resources Division chief at the Directorate of Public Works.

Mulhern and the DPW team came up with a new design which lowers the grading of the parking lot and has a series of medians with drainage areas that will capture water as it cascades down the lot and will be used to recharge the aquifer. Water from the commissary roof will also be captured for additional recharge. The gently sloping design and improved drainage will prevent the flooding that currently takes place during the rainy season.

A small rectangle of landscaping between the west corner of the current parking lot and commissary entrance already uses xeriscaping and native plants. When construction is completed, the entire strip will reflect this design.

Handicap parking space will be relocated to the lower end of the parking lot near the entrance. The new location of these spaces and the gentle slope of the parking lot means shoppers will have an easier time pushing heavily laden grocery carts to their vehicles. The entire area will also be used more effectively, increasing parking spaces from 204 to 263. The entrance to the commissary will remain the same.

The first phase of the project began Monday and is expected to be completed in mid-July. The other half of the parking lot will then be closed off for the second phase of the project with an estimated completion date of mid-September. Working in phases allows for some parking to be available in the current lot. The new parking lot will also be easier to negotiate with two-way traffic between parking aisles.

Parking at the commissary will be somewhat limited during construction. Shoppers will be able to park on one side of Burns, and overflow parking is available at the Barnes Field House parking lot. Fort officials ask motorists to be vigilant for shoppers using crossing at the intersection of Hatfield and Arizona during the construction phase.

“The $600K for the project comes from the garrison’s Sustainment Revitalization and Modernization Fund,” said Mulhern. “The Defense Commissary Agency has contributed funding for the plants,” she added.

Energy efficiencies will be gained with changes to the current mercury vapor lighting. New lighting poles will be lower and use LED lights. A timer that will keep the lights off when the commissary is closed and when there is sufficient sun to light the area will mean additional energy savings. Trees planted in the median will shade the area from the brutal desert sun and help lower temperatures.

Low impact, or green infrastructure as it is also called, is being increasingly used in the desert Southwest. Green infrastructure describes constructed features that use living, natural systems to provide environmental services, such as capturing and cleaning storm water; creating wildlife habitat; shading and cooling streets and buildings; and calming traffic. The median near the intersection of Christy and Smith on Fort Huachuca is an example of green infrastructure. In addition to being functional, native wildflowers add attractive color to the landscape.

The new parking designed by the Directorate of Public Works will increase parking spaces, capture water to recharge the aquifer and be more energy efficient.




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