Work eyes pedestrian safety of Alumni Circle

ALUMNICIRCLE_map

Campus pedestrians will soon discover a newer – and, hopefully, safer – way of navigating Alumni Circle thanks to an interim solution underway.

Starting this week, Facilities Management will begin altering the landscaping and pedestrian pathways of Alumni Circle with an emphasis on pedestrian safety, said Lynn Logan, Western’s Associate Vice-President (Finance & Facilities).

The volume of students, buses and traffic in and around the circle creates a lot of congestion and needs to be addressed, Logan noted. Under the plan, the pedestrian pathways that run through the middle of Alumni Circle will be removed. That area will be landscaped and accented by plants of varying heights to deter pedestrian travel through the circle.

The pedestrian crosswalks surrounding Alumni Circle will then be defined with new signage, as well as raised, sloped cement surfaces in order to slow and control traffic rounding the circle. The crosswalks will be fully accessible. The crosswalk that runs from Thames Hall to Alumni Hall will remain – only now better defined as a direct path students take.

“It’s really about defining the crosswalks, with raised surfaces, improving signage and stopping flow of pedestrian traffic through the circle. We want to create some new patterns,” Logan said.

The landscaping within Alumni Circle will start this week and not require complete road closures (although there may be some temporary stoppages). The changes to the crosswalks will take place starting mid-September and will require some periodic road closures, with most of the work scheduled for the weekends in an effort to lessen the impact on traffic flow. All cement work on the crosswalks should be done in time for Reunion Weekend (Sept. 30-Oct. 2).

The work will be an interim, pedestrian-safety solution, Logan said. Western just started to develop its Open Space & Landscape Plan, taken from the Campus Master Plan. A campus committee consisting of faculty, students, Facilities Management, senior administration and consultants will meet regularly over the coming year to look at the Open Space & Landscape Plan and follow through with upgrades across campus.

“There will be upcoming pieces; we are really at the infancy of this. We will have a critical path and strategy going forward. But this (Alumni Circle upgrade) is recognizing we need to do something. This is one of those things we are trying. We will react based on the effectiveness of it,” she said. “We don’t want to preclude the work this committee will take on, looking at pedestrian safety and traffic on campus. But we want to do something right away.”

The Open Space & Landscape Plan team will continue to look at a longer-term solution to pedestrian safety, including potential further work to Alumni Circle.