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Pedestrian core soon to become a reality
June 22, 1998

Within the next few weeks, Fairfield Road will be closed to traffic and workers are expected to begin peeling back the blacktop and removing paving blocks from the road, as one of the most dramatic, people-friendly aspects of the UConn 2000 initiative gets under way - creation of a pedestrian core at the academic heart of the campus.

Before the start of the academic year, says Larry Schilling, university architect, utility work under Fairfield Road will be completed and the excavation site covered. Construction crews will then begin creating the core, a key part of the University's facilities master plan.

The pedestrian forum at the heart of campus will be at the intersection of two major pedestrian walkways that will run north-south and east-west across campus..

The plazas and walkways will offer seating and are designed to enhance UConn's collegial atmosphere by creating an area that is conducive to meeting, sitting and talking.

"The notion of the Academic Way and a central forum is the structural representation of creating a true heart for the campus, a place that tells the student, the staff member, the visitor, the faculty member and the alumnus that you've reached the core of the University," says Chancellor Mark Emmert.

"The new system of walkways is essential to bringing a coherence to the University in the sense that the campus will be a much easier place to navigate, says Lorraine Aronson, special assistant to the chancellor.

The road closure will cause some displacement, Schilling says. Parking spaces along Fairfield Road and.

on-street parking on Mansfield Road, will be lost, the latter because Mansfield Road will become a two-way street.

Work will also begin this summer to extend Mansfield Road past Gulley Hall and Beech Hall, to Glenbrook Road. The new path will be used only for pedestrians, shuttle buses, access for the disabled and service vehicles, Schilling says. Having an internal shuttle route - one that avoids the traffic on Route 195 - will facilitate quick and easy access to the campus core.

Schilling says there also is a possibility that workers this summer will begin building a new roadway from North Eagleville Road, near the Connecticut State Employees Credit Union, to Hillside Road, so that traffic entering Hillside Road from North Eagleville Road will turn off at the back of the parking garage.

Richard Veilleux