North Texas Daily

Master Plan creates more pedestrian walkways

Master Plan creates more pedestrian walkways

Master Plan creates more pedestrian walkways
April 15
23:56 2015

Julian Gill / Staff Writer

In August, the portion of Avenue D currently under construction will be eliminated and turned into a walkway, according to UNT Parking and Transportation Services.

James Davis, associate vice chancellor for planning and development at the UNT System, said the walkway, located between the Gateway Center and Rawlins Hall, is the first segment in a larger central pedestrian path outlined in the 2013 Master Plan.

“In addition to providing pedestrian circulation, [the path] is going to take advantage of landmarks throughout campus and really provide a sense of place,” Davis said.

The path will extend from Apogee Stadium into the arts district side on the northeast portion of campus. According to the Master Plan, it will run through several key areas of conflict between pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

The university has already taken steps to become a more pedestrian-friendly campus with the recent addition of two-way bike lanes on Highland Street.

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Map courtesy of 2013 master plan

Parking and Transportation enforcement supervisor Keith Kregel said three reserved parking spaces have been relocated farther down Avenue D, and four service vehicle spaces have been eliminated as a result of the construction.

Davis said the UNT System, in partnership with Parking and Transportation Services, will speak to a consultant in the future about implementing the pedestrian plan without becoming a hindrance to campus parking.

“In terms of safety, you don’t want to create a lot of pedestrian and vehicular conflict,” Davis said. “At the same time, there is a need and a place for vehicles, so we have to figure out where it’s appropriate.”

Kinesiology junior Thomas Matthews said he commutes from Richardson every day and is hesitant about any major changes on campus.

“[The path] might make it harder to get a parking spot, but I feel like the campus is pretty good as it is pedestrian-wise,” Matthews said.

The Master Plan intends to add approximately 5,300 new spaces and develop parking structures on Highland Street and Eagle Drive. However, 4,200 spaces will be removed for new buildings and campus improvements.

The plan reads: “Each new building added to the central core should require the relocation of parking to perimeter parking lots and garages, so that the pedestrian realm is expanded.”

Davis said the university is keeping the need for accessible parking in mind.

“We’re not thinking about becoming a pedestrian-oriented campus in a vacuum,” Davis said. “We know there are parking issues on campus currently and there will be in the future, but that’s got to be taken into account with student enrollment, mass transit and a myriad of other issues.”

The Master Plan simultaneously recommends converting dead-end streets, which have become parking lots, into landscaped pedestrian malls, and “expanding the campus core pedestrian zone.”

North Avenue D, Chestnut, Sycamore, and Mulberry Streets are all listed as possible areas for pedestrian malls.

Davis said the pedestrian plan is a long-term project.

“As other projects continue to develop over time, so would the completion of different phases of this pedestrian path,” he said.

Linguistics junior Maria Adame said she thinks the path will especially benefit the physically handicapped.

“One of my friends is disabled and the thing she doesn’t like about some roads is there are no sidewalks, “ Adame said. “I think a path will be great, but as a driver it could be much more dangerous.”

Featured Image: Avenue D near the new residence hall is closed during the construction of the building. There are plans to make the portion of the street into a walkway. Photo by Adrian Warfield – Staff Photographer 

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