Campus Drive comes down


Some students have questions about how the removal of Campus Drive will affect campus traffic and parking, as the announcement sinks in and BYU moves forward in its effort to increase pedestrian safety and green space.

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The project will yield about 170 additional parking stalls, said BYU Spokeswoman Carri Jenkins. The drawings that have been released do not show a net increase in parking stalls, but are not intended to be exact representations of the project. For example, some parking stalls intended for the Smoot Administration Building and Hinckley Center are not shown in the drawings.

Parking administrators have not decided yet what type of parking stalls these will be (“Y”, “G”, “Visitor,” etc.) The specific designs of the green spaces and the drop-off point in front of the Hinckley Center are also details that have not yet been finalized

Pedestrian safety on Campus Drive is not a new issue. In 2010, two women were tragically struck by a car while crossing the road. BYU grad Jessica Wilson was killed in the incident. The driver is currently being charged in the fourth district court with negligent homicide and text messaging or emailing while driving.

Jenkins did not go into detail about whether or not that event affected this project. But she did say that BYU is mindful of the incident and that “the safety of pedestrians is very much a concern for us.”

“For me this is great because I hate crossing the street. For me it’s easier,” said Andrew Justvig, a resident of New Heritage who sometimes uses a motorized wheelchair.

“The nightmare will be how will I get (up) curbs when they’re building this thing,” said Justvig, who expressed concern about ramps being available during the construction period.

Construction of phase one will begin May 1 and is scheduled to end by Aug. 15 in time for Education Week. Phase one involves the area around the J. Reuben Clark Building. Phase two will take place during the same time frame in 2014 and center on the intersection by the Hinckley Center.

The biggest traffic impact will not occur until construction of phase three begins in 2015. Until then the section of Campus Drive that connects Heritage Drive to Bulldog Boulevard will remain open.

“I’m not sure if there is enough information to have an opinion. The charts were kind of confusing,” tweeted BYU student Andrew Hutchins about the project.

Bus routes are currently being decided. Most of the buses that serve Provo and Orem use Campus Drive, and the stops outside the Wilkinson Student Center are major transit points for patrons. Utah Transit Authority is not ready to announce how routes will be altered or where new stops will be.

“We haven’t achieved that level of detail yet,” said UTA Spokesman Gerry Carpenter. Carpenter also said that UTA only learned about the project last week.

It is likely that route changes will be made in April, though they may only be temporary detours until they have been through the proper public approval process.

Unfortunately, 900 East will not be a good option for detours this summer as the Central Utah Project will head that direction with their installation of a water pipeline starting in May.

BYU first presented the plan publicly at a meeting for city neighborhood chairs last week and encouraged them to give feedback. Mayor John Curtis said on his blog that BYU has been working with the city for “a number of months” to solve the traffic issues that the project raises.

“Although not obligated, BYU has stepped up in a big way to help identify and solve traffic problems that come from the change,” Curtis wrote.

Curtis also wrote that a third party study concluded that University Parkway is expected to be impacted more than the streets south of campus.

Steve Sandberg, a university attorney, pointed out one benefit of the staggered construction timeline for students.

“Each year as they come back, they’ll have a brand new section to enjoy,” he said.

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