Although a road which provided access to multiple North Campus residence halls closed permanently Friday, Ohio State Administration and Planning officials do not yet have a plan for how to accommodate the transportation needs for the students, faculty and staff affected.
When the plan is finished being developed, it will illustrate how to access dorms located on Curl Drive around the time of Thanksgiving and winter break, Administration and Planning spokeswoman Alison Hinkle said in an email.
“As soon as details are finalized we will communicate the plan,” Hinkle said. “We will make sure the plans are communicated with plenty of advance notice prior to the break. Maintaining access to the area during and after the construction is a priority, and stakeholder needs have been a major part of the planning discussion.”
Curl Drive, which connects Neil and Woodruff avenues, was closed as part of the beginning stages of the North Residential District Transformation.
The North Residential District Transformation is a $370 million renovation to North Campus that aims to enhance OSU’s Second-Year Transformational Experience by adding 3,200 additional student beds through the construction of 11 new buildings, set to be completed in Fall 2016.
STEP is a co-curricular component of the requirement for second-year students to live on campus but STEP will likely not be mandatory for students.
“I can’t imagine that we would ever require a student to do STEP, what we hope is that we can build a program that every student wants to participate,” said Vice President for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston in an August interview with The Lantern.
Currently STEP is the only co-curricular component of the second-year live-in requirement. Other programs, however, may be developed, Adams-Gaston said.
The closing of Curl Drive is an effort to eventually provide increased activity space and a more pedestrian-friendly environment once the transformation is complete, Hinkle said.
Fences were scheduled to be erected around various construction sites throughout the North Campus area Oct. 1 and the walking paths for pedestrians are set to be permanently altered, according to the campus construction map, changes that Hinkle said will be communicated to those in the area.
“Signage will be added throughout the area to clearly mark the alternative paths,” Hinkle said. “Pedestrians should stay within the alternative walking paths and always remember to stop, look and listen when near construction zones.”
Disability parking and bike racks were also relocated last week in preparation for the renovations, according to the North Residential District project updates website.
Some students are worried the closing of Curl Drive — which is the street address for Taylor Tower, Jones Tower, Barrett House, Drackett Tower and Houck House — will cause problems when they want to leave campus.
Mark Erdelac, a second-year in chemical engineering and Taylor Tower resident, said he foresees traffic problems around the North Campus area come Thanksgiving and winter break.
“It’s definitely going to be a problem because there are so many people that live right here (on Curl Drive) and everyone is going to try to go home at the same time, so I’m just not sure how exactly they’re going to get all of the cars in and out of here without a line,” Erdelac said.
Kiba Richardson, a first-year in chemical engineering and Taylor Tower resident, said she is leery about Curl Drive closing because of the potential traffic problems.
“It’s going to be crazy, I’m sure,” Richardson said. “I’m kind of confused as to what’s going to happen.”
Richardson said she hopes to receive an official plan from OSU about how to access the dorms on Curl Drive soon because she had trouble getting to her parents’ car over the weekend when they picked her up for a trip home.
“I went home this weekend for the first time and I had to drag my suitcase three blocks,” Richardson said.
She said if it hadn’t been closed, her parents would have used Curl Drive to pick her up, and said she’ll be waiting to see how university officials plan to provide access to North Campus residence halls in the future.