UVA builds island in the stream… of traffic

The street typified by the whiz of rushing cars, bane of coeds and tardy professors trying to cross University Avenue traffic, is getting a new concrete resting spot. Last Friday, crews poured the concrete for an island in the mid-block crossing just up from the intersection at Emmet near the Cavalier Inn, and final striping is due any day now.

UVA's assistant landscape architect, Helen Wilson, oversaw the project, and she is familiar with the dangers that can ensue even when a driver slows for a pedestrian.

"What happens is the person behind gets angry and flies by," Wilson says, "and people have almost been hit."

Wilson's boss, Mary Hughes, notes that the new feature offers a protective "respite" halfway across the street– but adds that even mid-block crossings can be hazardous. "Cars just aren't predisposed to slowing down," Hughes explains.

Hughes says several projects recently completed or under way have increased pedestrian traffic in the area:

¢ââ??¢ the 1,200-space Ivy/Emmet parking garage,
¢ââ??¢ the artificially turfed and Marching Band-favored Carr's Hill Field,
¢ââ??¢ the rising $16.7 million studio art building dubbed Ruffner Hall,
¢ââ??¢ the rising 554-space, $12 million Culbreth Road parking garage

Correction: the original version of this story overstated the role of project overseer Helen Wilson by claiming she designed the island, but it was actually Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc. which the University engaged to design the island and striping/signage.



Thank god! I've stopped for pedestrians (coworkers) and cars would pass me on the right and almost hit them. It's a bad crossing from both directions -- people flying down the hill and people who are in a hurry and coming off Emmett Street. Of course, it might have been useful to have at least the lime green pedestrian sign up when the other UVA cross walks got them.

That is an exceptionally dangerous pedestrian crossing. The new island, besides giving pedestrians a respite, will cause traffic to slow down and make drivers more aware of pedestrians. I think it's a worthwhile project.

Good move. Kudos to UVA for continuing to encourage pedestrian and bicycle use!