Parking Facility Constructed with the Future in Mind


Parking Facility Constructed with the Future in Mind

An integral part of Penn State University’s (PSU) planned expansion of the College of Engineering was the West Deck parking garage. As the first major structure to support the College of Engineering’s long-term expansion plan, the West Deck parking garage serves the needs of present parking demands while also catering to the needs of future transportation-related needs.

The 540,000-square foot garage is located in the center of PSU’s West Campus, and includes a total of 1,653 parking spaces within the six-level pre-cast and cast in place concrete structure. It was designed to minimize the impacts to the environment as well as the adjacent properties. 

The garage was also designed to maintain a safe campus environment while ensuring safe and efficient movement of all traffic modes to and from the expanding West Campus.

Modern Amenities

In an effort to meet current and future parking-related demands, the West Deck garage includes several elements to encourage multimodal transportation. This includes the Bike Den, a community-building nine-bench bike repair shop and dedicated bike parking located on the first level of the garage. The Bike Den includes space for the temporary storage for up to 100 bicycles.

Additionally, one side of the garage includes a cantilevered cover for a new campus bus stop to provide service to garage patrons to encourage a park-and-ride option. 

Because of the multimodal aspect of the garage, it was critical to minimize the conflicts between vehicles, buses, bicycles, and pedestrians. As a result, there are multiple entry and exit points dedicated for each. 

A total of 28 ADA-accessible parking spaces and five EV charging plugs are located on the first level. Thirteen additional spaces have been prepared for the installation of EV plugs in the future.

A license plate recognition system grants access in and out of the garage for permit holders, reducing the wait time for drivers to enter/exit the garage. The garage also includes a parking guidance system that senses the availability of each parking space in the deck and directs real-time data to patrons using a color-coded system of LED lights above each space.

Design Elements

PSU’s West Deck garage’s double helix design is an underground crossover in order to maximize site conditions and increase the number of parking spaces. The façade of the structure is composed of red brick in the vertical circulation cores to fit in the fabric of the campus architecture and introduces white/tan aluminum fins for a more placemaking approach. The density of the fins on each elevation responds to the surrounding environment, being denser in areas adjacent to other buildings and more open in public areas for greater visibility that enhance security.

The garage’s roof canopy was designed for the installation of solar panels in the future. The Bike Den, solar panels, EV charging stations, guidance system, bike shop, and den serve as the core sustainability elements for PSU’s effort to have the garage Parksmart Certified. 

Claudia Cepeda is a Senior Parking Designer for Walter P Moore. She can be reached at

Facility Facts

Location: University Park, Pennsylvania

Parking Spaces: 1,653

Levels: Six

Opened: 2021

Owner: Penn State University 

Parking Consultant: Walter P Moore

Design Architect: Lamar Johnson Collaborate

Structural Engineer: Hope Furrer Associates

MEP Engineer: Barton Associates

Builder: Clayco

Civil Engineer: Sweetland Engineering & Associates

Article contributed by:
Claudia Cepeda
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