By ETHAN SCOTT
Starting in August, BYU will use automated gates to close South Campus Drive to most daytime student traffic.
Although the area will remain open to people on foot and on bicycles, automobile traffic will be restricted due to safety concerns, including the potential for auto-pedestrian accidents.
“Increased traffic on the main road that circles the campus has created safety concerns for both drivers and pedestrians. It has become apparent that access to South Campus Drive needs to be restricted,” said Aaron Rhoades, director of traffic.
This summer, contractors will install automated gates and guard booths on West Campus Drive, north of the Faculty Office Building, and on South Campus Drive, east of the former McDonald Health Center.
“While university personel will still have access to these areas, through-traffic will be limited,” Rhoades said.
Faculty, staff and students with disabilities will be able to get passes that will allow them to have automatic access to the area. The gates will be opened at night and on weekends to allow all cars to pass through, said Carri Jenkins, director of University Communications.
A student security guard stationed at the booth can raise the gate for those who need one-time access.
In addition to the gates and the booths, the university will provide drop off areas in the vicinity of the gates, said Brad W. Farnsworth, administrative vice president.
“We’re trying to set up some good drop off points so its as convenient as possible,” he said.
The road will also be widened around the guard booths to allow cars to turn around, Farnsworth said.
Some students said they aren’t happy with the announcement.
Ryan Stewart, 21, a sophomore majoring in elementary education, from Demarest, N.J., said that although he doesn’t own a car, he thinks closing South Campus Drive is a bad idea.
“I don’t think BYU is very accomodating for students with cars, and this will just complicate things,” said Stewart, who lives south of campus and crosses South Campus Drive at least twice a day.
BYU officials said they understand the students’ complaints but have the students’ best interests at heart.
“This isn’t being done to inconvenience them,” Jenkins said. “It’s being done out of concern for their safety.”