Enhanced Security Coming to GW’s Public Parking Garages

New technology updates will prevent people from being able to enter the garages off the street without a GWorld card, ticketed barcode or access code.

July 13, 2022

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Unauthorized pedestrians will no longer be able to access GW's public parking garages. (Nick Erickson/GW Today)

Starting mid-July, public parking garages on George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom campus will feature new technologies to enhance security and protect against vulnerabilities for university students, faculty and staff, as well as contractors and other paying customers who use the garages.

A new scanning system will make each entrance accessible only with a GWorld card or the barcode or access code from tickets received upon entering the garage. High-speed doors that come up and down quickly have also been installed, as have light detection and ranging (LIDAR) cameras that will trigger the garage door to open only when a vehicle is approaching the gate—it would not register or be able to read an individual person.

These moves are all made to prevent unauthorized pedestrians from being able to enter the garages by foot. “The big key here was preventing anybody who is not affiliated at all from being able to have such easy access to our garages,” GW Police Chief James Tate said. “What the university is trying to do here is to mitigate the risk to our community by more effectively controlling the access to these garages.”

Pedestrian entrances accessible off the street or sidewalk to these parking garages have also been turned into exit-only doors. These public garages will mirror the current safety features on the Elliott School Garage, which underwent similar updates last August.

While the new technologies make it possible in dire situations—lockdowns or immediate security threats—to make the garages accessible only to GW students, faculty and staff, non-university and contracted personnel will still have access to GW’s public garages, which is important to note given the university’s proximity to places such as GW Hospital, the Department of State and even the Kennedy Center and National Mall.

“We want to try to be good neighbors, and we don't want to shut our doors completely,” General Manager of Parking Services Ben Cave said. “We’re creating additional barriers for safety reasons, but we’re not limiting anyone who would normally have access.”

An abundance of signage will be placed around the garages after the new technologies are turned on to remind public garage patrons of the changes.