UCSD announced that it is making bicycle and pedestrian improvements as well as constructing a bicycle path on Peterson Hill in a Jan. 23 press release. Construction commenced on Feb. 2 and is expected to be completed before September of this year.
Assistant Project Manager Jamie Bohannan informed the UCSD Guardian of the many components of this construction project, known as the University Center Bike and Pedestrian Improvements Project.
“This over two-acre project will provide grove reforestation, new open space, two new class-one bike lanes as well as a new pedestrian stair and accessible ramp on Peterson Hill,” Bohannan said. “This is one of a few projects starting up construction that is aimed at improving the existing infrastructure on campus.”
Bohannan also said that the bike lane will allow bicyclists to access Geisel Library while avoiding Library Walk, a bicycle dismount zone, while the additional pedestrian path will connect the university’s core to other heavily traveled areas.
Student Sustainability Collective’s Director of Internal Development Kyle Heiskala, who was assigned to lead the project by former A.S. President Andy Buselt, told the Guardian he thinks that the new pathway will improve both transportation efficiency and safety for students.
“These improvements will encourage students to use bikes as a viable means of getting around campus,” Heiskala said. “Once completed, circulation in the center of campus will be greatly improved for everyone, and safe, efficient biking will increase as well.”
Heiskala also expressed his satisfaction that the project is coming to fruition after Buselt set it as a top priority in fall of 2013.
“I have been accompanying it along the way as it has progressed through various stages of design and approval,” Heiskala said. “It is amazing to see the power of students and long-term collaboration producing such results.”
The university has set up a construction fence with borders consisting of Peterson Hill, Mandeville Lane, the Faculty Club and Library Walk. The construction will significantly affect pedestrian traffic from Ridge Walk to Library Walk at Peterson Hill and the Faculty Club for at least six months.
Heiskala then told the Guardian that the Student Sustainability Collective’s new Bike Committee has worked on expanding bike parking in areas near Library Walk as well as a campuswide bike-sharing program.
UCSD’s Director of Marketing and Communications Laura Margoni also informed the Guardian of other bicycle improvement projects that are in the works. These projects include adding a bike path on the Interstate 5 between Genesee Avenue and Voigt Drive, building a new Gilman Drive bridge over the I-5 and replacing the Voigt Drive bridge with one that has dedicated bike lanes.
The university also is in the planning stages of adding shared lane markings and sidewalks to Hopkins Lane as well as narrowing the median on Gilman Drive in order to fit dedicated bike lanes. Margoni indicated that this final plan would achieve the goal of providing bike lanes throughout the entire Campus Loop.