Construction to limit lanes on Midway, Terrace

Kurt Jakub

Midway and Terrace drives will be down to one lane in the next few weeks, adding to the laundry list of construction projects that the university is undertaking this summer.

In conjunction with the new Midway parking lot, which will be located where Terrace Hall used to be, Midway and Terrace drives will be widened to accommodate heavier traffic, said Tom Clapper, general manager of Transportation Services.

“This parking lot (Midway) is built around the idea of it being a traffic-control mechanism,” Clapper said. “The improvements to Midway and Terrace are going to really help us reduce some of the congestion, and I also believe it will help us achieve our goal of starting to minimize negative impacts on the nearby residential areas.”

Both Midway and Terrace drives will have two outbound lanes – one for traffic moving left onto state Route 59 and one for traffic moving left after construction, as well as one inbound lane, said Mike Bruder, assistant director for the Office of the University Architect.

“At Midway, the current two-lane road will become the exiting lanes,” Bruder said. “The row of trees that are there will stay and act as a boulevard in the center of the road, similar to 59, which has the boulevard in the center of the road.”

Bruder said construction will begin once certain sections of Terrace Hall are demolished, making the area safe to undergo roadwork.

“We’re trying to minimize any negative impacts this parking lot may have on to the residential areas located off of 59,” Clapper said. “We’re addressing that in terms of light control so headlights don’t shine in people’s houses, as well as noise control with bushes and other vegetation so it lessens the sounds of traffic going to the nearby residential area.”

Clapper said the entire area will be altered to improve both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

“A couple of things are happening at the same time,” Clapper said. “We have the parking lot, the widening of Midway and Terrace, and we’re enhancing pedestrian movement.”

Clapper said the sidewalks near Main Street will be moved farther away from the street. Bus shelters will be placed along the walkways, and a significant stop will be located in the Midway parking lot. Clapper said he hopes this will encourage more people to walk or ride bikes to campus and use PARTA to get around.

“The Esplanade showed us one thing,” Clapper said, referring to the large pedestrian walkway from Franklin Hall to the Student Center. “Once the infrastructure is put in to support pedestrian movement across campus in the easiest and fastest way, people start to choose it.”

Clapper said the plan is to keep improving traffic, both from cars and pedestrians, around the campus as well as the entire city of Kent.

“We want to keep emphasizing pedestrian movement and transit movements around campus and around the city,” Clapper said. “So when we build something like this parking lot, we put in these infrastructures like bus stops and pedestrian walkways to support all these other modes of transportation.”

Bruder said the construction on Midway and Terrace drives should be completed by the beginning of fall semester.

Contact buildings, grounds and transportation reporter Kurt Jakub at [email protected].