The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Ensuring pedestrians’ protection

November+will+mark+the+next+phase+of+the+expansion+of+the+sidewalks+on+University+Drive.
Photo by Photo by Paul Burke

November will mark the next phase of the expansion of the sidewalks on University Drive.

No longer will students walking along University Drive have to narrowly avoid cars while trying to stay on the sidewalk or off the road where a sidewalk doesn’t exist. The city of College Station plans to start the final phases of sidewalk improvements in November to increase the safety of pedestrians.
The University Drive Pedestrian Safety Improvement project is a part of a bond issued in 2008 that will make the sidewalks along University Drive 12 to 18 feet wide and add new pedestrian signals. The project is projected to be completed in one year.
“There are so many pedestrians that cross University Drive, so the wider sidewalks and improved signals will give more time to cross,” Emily Fisher, Public Works assistant director for the city of College Station, said. “I’m definitely looking forward to improving that safety.”
This improvement project has been in the works since 2008 and Fisher said it has involved collaboration with both Texas A&M and the Texas Department of Transportation.
“When we do a bond package, you basically authorize the city to go into debt to pay for the improvement,” Fisher said. “You have to stack it, so this was one that we pushed back to the end of the seven year bond period, [and] it’s taken a lot of coordination with A&M and TxDOT.”
The sidewalk project was originally started by TxDOT with the pedestrian wall along Northgate. The expanded sidewalks and new signals are phases two through five of the project.
“The first phase was completed by TxDOT, and we are picking up where they stopped,” Susan Monnat, project manager, said. “There’s places where we don’t have any sidewalk and places where we have very narrow sidewalk and we are actually trying to connect to the improvements we have done previously.”
A new pedestrian crosswalk will also be implemented at College Avenue and Bizzell Street, where pedestrians will be able to cross diagonally across University Drive. Monnat said the city has plans in place to accommodate both pedestrians and traffic during the construction.
“There will be times we reroute pedestrians around certain areas because there is not a practical way to make the area along University safe,” Monnat said. “We will basically have some areas that are closed off and maybe have to reroute around a block. Otherwise, it will be done with water-filled barricades to keep pedestrians safe.”
The City of College Station also plans to start road widening projects in the southwest area of the city next year. Roads included in the project are Holleman South, Rock Prairie Road and other roads around The Barracks town homes, a student housing complex.
“These are some big improvements to help out this part of town with the mobility of traffic in and out as well as the safety of these intersections,” James Smith, project manager, said. “There is a big student population growing on the southwest side of town, so getting this infrastructure down and helping the community in this area is something we are looking forward to and looking forward to getting completed.”
Monnat said the expected projects will not only make it safer for pedestrians but will also increase the mobility of pedestrians and vehicles in an expanding College Station.
“We are going to take it and make sure we have wide enough sidewalks to accommodate the number of people coming through there,” Monnat said. “There are some places where there really isn’t a sidewalk, there’s not really a safe place and people are just squeezing past in the few feet before you actually get to roadway.”

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  • To ensure safety, the City of College Station is currently working on making sidewalks and crosswalks on University Drive wider.

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