Saturday, August 18, 2012

Campus Improvements Obstructing Traffic

There has been a lot of construction on campus for the past year.

Opening ceremony for WMU's new Sangren Hall, Lee Honors College, pedestrian mall set for Sept. 28
  • The new Sangren Hall is almost ready for classes in the Fall.
  • The expansion of the Lee Honors College is complete.
  • A pedestrian plaza in front of new Sangren is nearing completion.
  • A new bus stop area has been constructed on the road to Wesley foundation.
  • A new Wesley foundation is being constructed in the parking lot next to Howard.
The construction certainly looks nice. We'll see how the insides of the buildings look soon.

Western is continuing its long term plan of eliminating vehicle traffic from the center of campus, restricting it to the periphery instead. To an extent, this is a reasonable goal. Twenty years ago, West Michigan went straight through campus. But the campus planners have gone so far that it is getting hard to access the buildings in the center of campus by car. Access to the Computer Center and Kanley Chapel now depends on a sidewalk "road".

With the elimination of the lot in front of Sangren, parking for the library will be more difficult than ever. There are two small faculty lots near Moore Hall that will be full during the day. The nearest student parking is probably Miller ramp, a good hike away.

Another annoyance is the new traffic circle on West Michigan in front of the Bernhard Center. The circle itself is not the problem. But it has cut off access to the road that goes between McCracken and Siebert, which was a convenient short-cut. The traffic circle has also eliminated one of the small lots in front of Henry Hall and the few spaces in front of Siebert. Where are people using this part of campus supposed to park? Wherever it is, they'll be in for a long walk.

What will make up for all the lost parking? Some space in the Rood Hall lot will be reclaimed thanks to the relocation of the bus area. The old bus area was something of an eyesore; the new one is much nicer. It did take a chunk out of the Sindecuse lot for a bus turnaround, though.

In addition, a lot near the business college has been slightly expanded. Supposedly, once old Sangren is torn down, its location will be used for more parking. However, this will take a while.

While many of the changes on campus are positive, I wish Western's master planners would link some of the spurs off the ring road to make it easier to get around.

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