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University of South Alabama - Campus Master Plan


Transportation and Circulation Recommendations
As discussed in section 2, Existing Inventory and Analysis under Transportation and Circulation, the University had initiated several parking studies including a plan for zoned parking; they have applied for transportation enhancement grants for pedestrian walks and accompanying landscape and have designed a mass transportation system. These projects have been implemented to solve issues such as traffic congestion, pedestrian safety and environmental pollution and should be carried through to completion. The following recommendations are to supplement the projects already in activation and to cover other issues that have not yet been addressed.
Shuttle System
The shuttle system can be an excellent tool in transporting students, faculty and staff to destinations around campus, cutting back on the peak hour congestion and parking problems. The proposed shuttle system is valid due to the size of the university and its potential for future growth. It is important when the system is active that further studies be taken so that any problems can be solved and the system can run efficiently.
Vehicular Traffic
It is anticipated that many of the traffic problems will be remedied through the shuttle system and zoned parking. The existing network of streets and accesses are adequate, but in some instances add to vehicular and pedestrian traffic problems. Several recommendations have been made to help alleviate these problems and are documented on the Campus Master Plan map.
The two (2) main roads along the edges of campus, University Boulevard and Old Shell Road, have many exit and access points. University Boulevard, which is an arterial road with many islands and crossings, has seven (7) existing exits and accesses to the campus. A strategy to cut this number is to stretch Administration Court to the north to pass in front of the Instructional Laboratory Building. It will connect to a combined Alpha Complex and Visual Arts Complex parking lot cutting down on two accesses. Conceptually a pedestrian corridor running from University Boulevard, between the Administration Building and the Instructional Laboratory Building and into the proposed quadrangle will intercept the enlarged Administration Drive.
Another change to traffic flow is found at the intersection of USA South Drive and Mitchell Center Drive. With the proposed expansion of the Mitchell Center Plaza and the incorporation of a bell tower of other emblematic feature it is recommended that this intersection be moved west of its original location to Campus Drive. This will help in creating the space needed for developing the plaza and will also create a single four-way intersection instead of two (2) two-way intersections.
As part of the proposed shuttle system roads will be constructed to create more direct paths of travel for the buses and shuttles making up the system. The two (2) major roads created for this system will be located from the Life Sciences Building parking lot to a turning circle between the Student Center and the Library and the other will run from Mitchell Center Drive to Stadium Drive with a midway connection to the Gamma Residences parking lot.
The Research Park planned by the CSA Group, Inc. also proposes a network of roads, bridges and other infrastructure to support new facilities.
Parking is an issue the University has invested time on through studies by internal and external consultants. The process of implementing zoned parking is an appropriate method in solving many of the parking problems and to promote the use of the shuttle system. Many of the recommendations for parking seen on the Campus Master Plan map came about due to effects by conceptual strategies for the development of the campus. Others were from general observations.
Several conceptual plans discussed in the previous Vehicular Traffic section were the linking of the Alpha Complex and Visual Arts Complex parking lots and the infrastructure, including parking, for the future development of the research park. Other parking areas affected or developed through conceptual strategies include the existing administration parking lot off of USA South Drive and Administration Court, the existing Bookstore parking lot, the existing Cancer Center and Health Services parking lot and the proposed Student Recreation Center parking lot. The administration parking lot was redesigned for the purpose of locating proposed General Classroom Buildings to help define the edge of the proposed quadrangle. The proposed Student Services prompted the expansion of the nearby bookstore parking lot, the proposed relocation of the College of Nursing and Allied Health to the existing Cancer Center and Health Services Building required expansion of their adjacent parking lots and the proposed Student Recreation Center near the intramural fields required new parking.
As discussed under the Existing Inventory and Analysis section, many of the existing parking lots are large open expanses. To help break them up into more visually appealing sections, inserting landscaped islands can be an affecting feature, without loosing too many parking spots. Another issue discussed was the safety issues with the back out parking along Stadium Boulevard. Some alternatives to alleviate this problem would be to remove parking all together and narrow the street or to remove parking from the island side of the Boulevard and move the driving lane inward to create a "buffer" zone between the parking spaces and the driving lane. Both options would lose parking, but could be made up with the incorporation of parking in the development of the proposed apartment housing west of the Boulevard.
Pedestrian Traffic
The University is in the process of implementing the bicycle and exercise paths that are part of the Transportation Enhancement Grant and the CIty of Mobile is providing sidewalks along University Boulevard. These projects are a major step in enhancing the pedestrian traffic of the campus. Other recommendations have been presented on the Campus Master Plan map, which are discussed below.
Formalizing sidewalks and pedestrian corridors for a campus of this size is important in helping to create shared open and green spaces and a sense of unity throughout the campus. As depicted previously, sidewalks should be included in the site work of the earlier projects on the Campus Facilities Master Plan Project list, so the concept behind them will not be lost in later development. Several key pedestrian traffic concepts proposed on the Campus Master Plan map include the use of sidewalks to help define the edges and circulation of the quadrangle, a main pedestrian corridor with portal that runs from Student Services Building through the quadrangle to University Boulevard, a main pedestrian corridor that runs from the Mitchell Center plaza to the residential area and the various sidewalks that define open space and vistas through the Academic zone. The development of plazas is also important for creating focus points on the Campus, where pedestrian traffic accumulates.
In order to create safer pedestrian conditions a look at intersections of streets and sidewalks should be taken. DIfferentiation between street and sidewalk, such as material change, elevation change or prominent pedestrian crossing signs will aid in slowing down traffic and should be implemented. Major differentiation should be present at such key areas like campus entries and plazas. Features such as the proposed entry portals discussed below and changing larger portions of street material similar to what is shown at the Mitchell Center plaza and USA South Drive intersection are examples of major differences.

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Last date changed: January 14, 2013 12:22 PM