A section of Market Street on the NW side of the Rebecca Sealy Hospital is scheduled to shut down to traffic Thursday night (April 12) through about 10 a.m. Friday morning. A crane is scheduled to hoist what I heard was new air handling equipment to the roof of the Rebecca Sealy Building; the inconvenience should be pretty minor for most folks.
Then on Sunday, April 15, the TXDOT contractor working on the second span of the Galveston Island Causeway will close the bridge at about 8 a.m. for the latest in a series of blasts to demolish the old bridge and make way for the new. The closures last about an hour while they clear rubble (and fish parts?) from the roadway.
Back near campus, city crews have started work to activate the traffic signals at 6th St. and University Drive. A few of the lights are blinking red now, a step in the right direction from a bunch of four-way stop signs.
The big change on campus is planned for later this month, as part of something called the “West Campus Landscape Project.” It’s going to close a part of Strand east of 11th Street to vehicles and reroute pedestrians in an area bounded by Mary Moody, Graves, the Student Center, Old Red, the Hospital Clinics, Keiller, Basic Science Bldg. and MRB. FOAM has been hosting meetings with some of those most affected for a couple of weeks, and detailed communication to campus is coming together on it now, including some project renderings.
In the big picture, the project is about a lot more than landscaping. The campus master plan has carved out large, mostly vehicle-free public and pedestrian spaces across the center of campus, in part necessitated by the BSL4 and National Lab. But, these changes are also an opportunity to enhance a park-like feel of our campus. Many of us enjoy stepping out for a few minutes, to enjoy the library plaza, the rose garden, and some of the other (and newer) outdoor public spaces…even if it’s just walking to a meeting or to get lunch. (I think my favorite new spot is the University Plaza fountain after sunset. It’s stunning, and there’s a grassy quadrangle on top, great to let kids burn some energy.) This next project promises to offer all of us—be we students, staff, faculty, patients or visitors—some really pleasant spaces. There’ll be some inconvenience, but in the long term I think we’ll like what we get.