University officials presented initial plans for a new landscaped pathway and common space west of Ellis Avenue on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at a public meeting with Ald. Leslie Hairston. The pathway, to be located where 58th Street now comes to a dead end, is part of an ongoing effort to better connect parts of campus.
The project will cover the area between the entrance to the emergency room at Bernard A. Mitchell Hospital and Ellis Avenue, replacing an existing vehicle cul de sac.
The project will feature new green space, with more welcoming walkways that extend the feel of the main quadrangles and new outdoor seating areas. Large, concrete planters that currently impede pedestrian traffic will be removed. Safety features, including new lighting, will be added.
Ingleside, a building just north of the cul de sac that has reached the end of its functional life, will be removed to open up the pedestrian pathway to Crerar Quadrangle. The lease for the U.S. Post Office, the only current tenant of the building, expires later this year; postal officials have declined offers to relocate the office elsewhere on campus.
Ambulances and other traffic will continue to have access to 58th Street, which will remain open between Maryland Avenue and the emergency room entrance. East of the emergency room entrance, the curbed street will be replaced with pedestrian paving blocks, with vehicle access limited to emergencies and authorized, off-hours loading.
Currently, the only access to the Crerar Quadrangle from 58th Street is through a small private driveway. The new configuration will connect the new common space to the quadrangle and create a new outdoor gathering space with tables and chairs.
“Through a number of projects, we have worked to create new connections across campus, encouraging the kind of safe movement and informal encounters that bring our scholars and students together,” said Steve Wiesenthal, University Architect and Associate Vice President for Facilities Services. “The new Campus West Pedestrian Pathway will make important connections within our medical campus, and help join our medical campus and the main quadrangles.