The University plans to close Third Street to vehicles and open an entirely pedestrian zone at the start of the 2020-21 academic year.
The pedestrian zone will stretch from Martin Jischke Drive to University Street, and will include walkways and bicycle paths as well as outside furniture and planters. The University plans to make it similar to the outdoor area near the Bell Tower and Wilmeth Active Learning Center, according to a Purdue press release.
“This is a huge step toward making our campus ever more friendly and creating a better environment for interaction and impromptu gathering among students and our campus community,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in the release. “We’ve heard from students that a project like this is desirable and will make their lives better and their movement around their living spaces more convenient.”
Third Street is a main thoroughfare between the residential and north academic areas of campus. The release says it can get clogged with pedestrian, bicycle and motor vehicle traffic.
“Closing Third Street to vehicular traffic will help alleviate congestion in one of the busiest areas of campus,” said Michael Cline, senior vice president of administrative operations. “The safety of our Purdue community is of the utmost importance, and reducing the opportunity for conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians will help increase safety in the area.”
North-south vehicular traffic will remain unchanged on Martin Jischke Drive and Russell and University streets. Waldron Street and two adjacent alleyways will be closed at Third Street, and culs-de-sac will be constructed. Emergency vehicles will still be permitted to use Third Street in emergencies.
“Safe roads and interconnectivity between the university, students and community has always been a priority for our city,” said John Dennis, mayor of West Lafayette.
The project's total cost is estimated to be $1 million, according to the press release. Construction on the project is set to begin in May.