Few things are more frustrating than getting caught in congested traffic, especially when it’s caused by inconvenient construction projects. However, when the dust eventually settles, the benefits of these necessary projects quickly become evident.
That’s certainly the case with the University Drive Pedestrian Safety Project, which will greatly enhance the safety of students and other pedestrians in the Northgate area. For more than three years, the City of College Station has worked closely with Texas A&M and the Texas Department of Transportation on the project. Thankfully, the first phase — which stretches from Wellborn Road to Tauber Street – is expected to be finished in the next two weeks.
Pavers are being installed on the new College Main Plaza, and traffic control devices will be removed in the next few days. Next week, retractable bollards will be installed at the College Main-University and College Main-Patricia Street intersections, along with new pedestrian signals at Boyett and University.
The major improvements resulting from the project are:
- A median on University Drive between Wellborn and Tauber.
- Reconstruction of ramps at Wellborn and University.
- A new traffic signal at Boyett and University Drive with pedestrian crosswalks.
- Wider sidewalks along the north side of University.
- A pedestrian barrier adjacent to the new sidewalk between Boyett and College Main.
- A loading zone between Lodge and College Main.
- A bicycle and pedestrian crossing at University created by modifications to Houston Street and College Main.
- A plaza along College Main between University Drive and Patricia.
The most notable change is the bicycle and pedestrian crossing on University at Houston and College Main. The traffic signal will remain to help pedestrians and bicyclists get across safely, but vehicles can no longer cross University. Traffic on campus will now enter University Drive from Asbury Street.
Another major change concerns the stretch of University between College Main and Lodge Street. Previously free parking, that area is now a loading zone. Non-commercial vehicles attended by the driver will be allowed up to five minutes to load or unload.
Construction on Phase II of the project, which will run from Tauber to South College, will likely begin in the spring or summer of 2014. When that time comes, we’ll once again battle traffic congestion and the inconveniences that go with it. But in the end, we can all rest easier that the Northgate District will provide a safer, more pedestrian-friendly environment.