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Updated 12:00 PM February 2, 2004
 

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North Campus transportation town meeting
Suggestions for North Campus plan: Make it accessible,
retain beauty


Provide more bicycle parking. Make separate areas for bicyclists and pedestrians. Build a sidewalk along McIntyre. Slow down the bus drivers. Make new roads. Build a North Campus parking deck, and do it soon.

These were a few of the suggestions from the more than 50 people who attended a town meeting with University planning staff Jan. 29. The meeting was held to gather input from faculty, staff and students who frequent North Campus as part of the process for creating a North Campus Transportation Plan.

"Several master planning efforts have been completed for North Campus since the University purchased the property in the 1950s, but this is the first time we've attempted to draft a transportation plan for this area," said Sue Gott, University planner, during the meeting's opening remarks. "We are working with our transportation consultant to document existing conditions and identify existing opportunities and challenges. Later we'll develop and refine alternative recommendations."

Gott indicated the goals are to support planned growth and development on North Campus by providing a comprehensive, multi-modal plan that is flexible and responsive in addressing short-term and long-range transportation needs. The plan will attempt to balance the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists with those of vehicles, including automobiles, buses and service vehicles. Gott said the committee hopes to complete the plan by this fall.

Douglas Kelbaugh, dean of the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning, encouraged planners to consider adding roads, including reopening Beal Avenue.

"We need to recognize that North Campus must take our share of the traffic (in this part of the city)," Kelbaugh said. "North Campus is too old and too big to be treated as a satellite campus. We are a destination and we need to bring in more retail and food service, but keep it compact to retain the beauty of our area."

Several regular bicycle riders shared issues and concerns they encounter while commuting. Others expressed interest in better access to other campuses as well as other areas of the city, such as Lower Town. One rider asked if bus drivers could be more consistent in keeping the internal bus lights illuminated to allow for late-night studying while riders return to their apartments.

"What should our expectations be of our transportation system?" asked Neil Johnson, a member of the Rackham student government transportation committee. "Should we expect a five-minute walk to be acceptable from parked car to destination? Or is it 10 minutes? How long should we expect to wait for a bus? If the planners would let us know the campus expectations, it would help us know if what we're experiencing is acceptable."

In response to comments that some people weren't able to attend the meeting, Gott announced that a second town meeting would be scheduled before the end of April.

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