Pedestrians get right of way in center of campus
THE SANTA CLARA
September 26, 2013
Dorothy has her yellow brick road, and now Santa Clara has its own version of a paved road with the new pedestrian mall on Palm Drive.
Only a few months ago, the road allowed vehicles to drive from the main entrance to the Mission Church. Now, the space is no longer accessible to cars, opening up the area as a new walkway for students, faculty and visitors to the Santa Clara campus.
Senior Andre Joseph often bikes around campus and finds the mall much easier to navigate.
“It’s nice because there’s not as many curbs, you don’t have to worry about cars and there’s a lot more space for people to go.”
This project was possible because of a generous, anonymous donor. Joe Sugg, Assistant Vice President of University Operations, explained how the donor “shared the vision of how much better Santa Clara would be with that road closed, from a pedestrian safety point of view and from an aesthetic point of view.”
Another purpose of the change was to feature the Mission Church as the core of the Santa Clara campus. Some people had worried that the traffic and parked cars were a distraction from the beautiful, historic Mission.
The project went underway on June 17, the Monday after Commencement for the class of 2013.
According to Sugg, it has been “in the works for about 10 years.” He mentioned the master plans for 2005 and even 1998 had Palm Drive closed.
Santa Clara finally got approval to build a new parking structure last year. The structure, scheduled to open in mid-November, is located on the block north of Franklin Street, between Alviso Street and The Alameda. This garage will account for all of the lost parking spaces from Palm Drive and eventually, from Alviso Street, which will also become a pedestrian mall in the future.
A construction crew team from DEVCON worked on the mall this past summer, often six days a week. As part of the laborious process, the base rock was dug up, the base soil foundation was redone and compacted and pipes were put in across the road.
Two areas of Palm Drive are still not yet complete. Currently, there is a fountain in the center of the mall still under construction. The next step in the fountain project is to design, approve and build the vertical piece that goes in the middle of the structure. It is scheduled to be installed in November.
The second incomplete part of Palm Drive is an unfinished area where the road narrows. A low wall implying the start of the pedestrian pathway will, as Sugg described, “be like a new marker on campus.”
Adjunct Lecturer Roxanne Rashedi from the English department said she loves how “the mall itself is more open and inviting.” She is curious to see how students might utilize it as more than just a pathway, offering that student life and leadership could perhaps hold events or table in the area.
A dedication to the new mall will take place during October or November.
Contact Eryn Olson at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.