New walkway nears completion at top of the Hill

Jackson French

A new pedestrian walkway beside State Street near the area behind College High Hall may ease the journey to the top of the Hill for many students and make the trip safer for pedestrians.

Helen Siewers, a landscape architect at Planning, Design and Construction who managed the project, said the ramp is replacing a set of stairs that was removed over the summer.

She also said one of the main reasons for the installation of the walkway was to direct more pedestrian traffic to a crosswalk on State Street.

“The configuration that was there before was a narrow set of steps leading down from that stone arch area called Diddle Park, and those steps were off alignment from the logical crosswalk location,” she said.

Siewers said PDC has long been looking for a way of addressing the misalignment between the stairs and the crosswalk.

“As we studied the land there closely, we realized we could achieve two goals at once,” she said. “One is to funnel pedestrians to the crosswalk location and secondly to make another accessible route on campus.”

Bryan Russell, director of PDC, said construction of the ramp is part of a bigger plan, one that includes building a new shelter at the nearby bus stop and adding a stairway leading from one portion of the ramp to the area directly behind College High Hall.

Russell said the plan is aimed primarily at pedestrian safety.

“Before, we just had people crossing everywhere,” Russell said. “Really it’s going to help guide them to a dedicated crosswalk area.”

Siewers said besides making the crosswalk more accessible, the new walkway also provides a convenient and accessible route for pedestrians.

“It’s a universally acceptable walkway,” she said. “There are no steps to provide a barrier to use that route.”

She said the new walkway is part of a path leading from Jones-Jaggers Hall through the middle of campus to Ogden College at the top of the Hill.

“One long-term goal we’ve had on campus is for that whole route to be barrier-free so that somebody in a wheelchair could use that route without encountering any obstacles or detours,” Siewers said.

She said by building the walkway, PDC has removed the last barrier from the route.

Siewers said the ramp is already finished, but the staircase leading from part of the walkway to the plaza behind College High Hall is scheduled to be completed on Friday.

The bus shelter, she said, is scheduled to be finished by Sept. 11.

Siewers said the project will also include a landscape portion in which ornamental grass and shrubs are planted over areas disturbed during the construction process.