Work under way at East Carolina University will add more green spaces and create a more pedestrian-friendly core campus. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)
By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services
The closure of a roadway running through East Carolina University’s main campus will minimize the potential for collisions between pedestrians and vehicles and encourage bicycling and walking.
A portion of Founders Drive closed July 16 in adherence with the university’s master plan for the campus, adopted by the ECU Board of Trustees in 2010. Motorists will no longer be able to use the route to drive between Fifth and 10th streets.
A route through campus will be open to emergency response vehicles.
Fences are rerouting pathways around construction areas on campus.
From Fifth Street, Founders Drive will remain open to vehicles at Wright Circle –around the fountain and to Wright Auditorium – and for right turns on to Faculty Way. Drivers entering campus from 10th Street will be able to turn left down Duncan Court, which runs behind the Flanagan and Slay buildings and provides access to Student Health Services.
East of that area, a parking lot will also close between the Austin and Rawl buildings at the base of Wright Plaza. Approximately 50 parking spots will be eliminated. Emails were sent to the ECU community and specifically to people who regularly park in the area.
Over the next several months, construction crews will tear out the roadway and parking lot and replace it with green space, landscaping and a 20-foot-wide, permeable multi-use path.
Fencing has been installed to ensure pedestrian safety while construction is under way. Officials ask that the campus community and visitors please heed the directional signs and not trespass on the work site. Additionally, motorists should not drop off passengers on Founders Drive in order to minimize traffic and clear the way for deliveries, emergency vehicles and Student Health Services patients.
“We apologize for the inconvenience this project will cause,” said Bill Koch, associate vice chancellor for environmental health and public safety, “but it is necessary to create a safer pedestrian and bicycle corridor on campus for those traveling between classes, residence halls and other key student, faculty, and staff destinations on our busy core campus.”
“The atmosphere you’ve got on the mall, we’re actually extending that and pulling it through the rest of campus,” said Michael Talton, ECU architect and project manager. “I think it’s going to be really nice.”
The work is scheduled for completion in December.