Safety concerns lead to vehicle-free main quad

University administration made the decision to block Quadrangle Drive from motor vehicle traffic effective fall 2010.

This decision was based on recommendations from the University’s Master Plans from 2001 and 2010.  The two master planners agreed that the area should be closed off from personal vehicles for safety.  

“A concern for me when I was visiting campus for my [hiring] interview was the exposure that those buildings had to emergency services,” Jack Butler, associate vice president of Facilities and Business Services, said.  “My thoughts concurred with what the Master Planner had been thinking, but I was just another set of eyes.”

Vehicles were not only being driven around the main quad, they were also often left illegally parked along the sides.

“It is a fire lane and any vehicles parked there will impede emergency vehicles trying to respond to an actual emergency,” Glenn Binkley, director of Facilities and Business Services, said.

This problem was visible just before administration decided to close the drive to motor vehicle traffic.

“We brought in the fire department to do pre-planning [for fire safety plans] recently, and there was a car parked in the way,” Butler said.  “That’s a problem.  [Closing the main quad] was really mitigation for safety.”

However, this change has not been implemented without complaint.

Faculty in Bartoo Hall and South Hall were concerned that they were not receiving package deliveries as a result of Quadrangle Drive being closed to delivery trucks.  However, this problem has been addressed and delivery schedules should return to normal.

“There was confusion from UPS and FedEx on what their delivery route was,” Butler said.  “We were at UPS Ground and FedEx earlier this week to make sure that these problems were put to bed.”

Though the main quad is now closed to motor vehicle traffic, the University still allows bicycles, foot traffic and student activities in the area.  Butler said he even hopes that the lack of motor vehicles will make the green space more appealing.

Accommodations can be made to assist organizations that host large special events in the main quad.

“We’re dedicating the Quad to University usage and we do what we can to help functions go smoothly,” Butler said.  “We made arrangements for everyone to set up on the quad for all of the Week of Welcome activities and other events but then they had to move all of their cars once they were finished.”

The sawhorses that currently block the lane to motor vehicle traffic will be replaced with spring-loaded bollards that will serve as barriers to personal vehicles but can be pushed over by emergency vehicles such as fire trucks and ambulances.  After the vehicle passes, the bollard will spring back into place.