BYU to Change Campus Roads, Pathways
Contributed By By Michelle Garrett, Church News staff writer
Brigham Young University has announced major changes to campus roads, walkways, and parking. The construction is scheduled to begin May 1 of this year and will continue through 2015.
The university will permanently close the section of East Campus Drive between the Wilkinson Student Center and the J. Reuben Clark Law Building and turn it into a pedestrian plaza. Other renovations include two new roundabouts (traffic circles), one near the Wilkinson Student Center and the other near the administration building.
Additional parking will also be created near the BYU Museum of Art and the Harris Fine Arts Center. BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said there should be a net gain of 170 parking stalls, though that number is subject to change.
Construction will be divided into phases over the course of three years. Phase one begins May 1 with the permanent closure of East Campus Drive between the Wilkinson Center and the law building. The pedestrian bridge between the two buildings will come down, and the crosswalk outside the covered Wilkinson Center passenger drop-off area will be replaced with a roundabout. An entry will be created through the parking lot next to the law building that will connect the roundabout with 900 East.
Sister Jenkins said the new pedestrian plaza is meant “to unify the campus and to create a pedestrian-friendly environment with ample green space.” It also addresses some concerns for pedestrian safety, including for those living in on-campus housing.
The second phase of the project will begin in the summer of 2014 and includes construction of a new drop-off area in front of the Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center. The work will also shift 450 East and add a sidewalk on the south side of 1230 North.
Phase three begins summer of 2015 and will include new parking areas near the Museum of Art and a roundabout and new entry north of the administration building. These changes are also meant to increase pedestrian safety, especially for students who live on campus.
BYU has partnered with the city of Provo to deal with the expected effect on traffic around campus, especially on 900 East.
Provo’s deputy mayor, Cory Norman, said they are making plans to widen the roads and install additional stoplights to improve the traffic flow on 900 East.
“BYU understands the stress this will cause on the community and has been willing to partner with us,” the deputy mayor said. “Which is great—they certainly didn’t have to do this.”
Because BYU is working with the city, all property loss caused by widening 900 East will be on the west side where the BYU campus is located, he said, and should not affect residential areas on the east side of the road.
According to the deputy mayor, the Central Utah Pipeline project will already be digging up much of 900 East this year to install a major water pipeline through Provo. This project is scheduled to take about a year to finish, at which time the roads will require reconstruction. The city plans to take advantage of this reconstruction to prepare the roads to better handle the traffic caused by the changes to the BYU campus.