January 16, 2020

Third Street to become new people-friendly corridor

third-street A reimagined Third Street will be closed to motor vehicle traffic in order to allow for the safer movement of pedestrians through a key Purdue campus corridor. (Purdue University image) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Third Street on Purdue’s campus will have an all-new and more friendly look and feel when the 2020-21 academic year begins, thanks to a plan to eliminate vehicular traffic from Martin Jischke Drive to University Street.

A new pedestrian zone will include walkways and bicycle paths as well as outside furniture and planters. It is the first step in improving the character and function of Third Street, which will begin the transformation of the academic and student corridor to be similar to the outdoor area near the Bell Tower and Wilmeth Active Learning Center. Construction on the project is set to begin in May.

“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. “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, a main thoroughfare between the student residential and north academic areas of campus, can get clogged with pedestrian, bicycle and motor vehicle traffic. The transition to a corridor with designated pedestrian and bicycle paths also will greatly increase student safety.

 “Closing Third Street to vehicular traffic will help alleviate congestion in one of the busiest areas of campus,” said Michael B. 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, with the exception that turns onto Third Street will be prohibited. Waldron Street and two adjacent alleyways will be closed at Third Street and culs-de-sac will be constructed. Upon completion of the project, emergency service vehicles will 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. “Creating a unique collaborative environment for our students adds another layer of greatness to Purdue and West Lafayette that is achieving new heights for improving our city and continuing our spirit of cooperation.”

Total project cost is estimated to be $1 million. Project improvements will be coordinated with the City of West Lafayette.

Writer: Tim Doty, 765-494-2080, doty2@purdue.edu

Sources: Michael B. Cline, mbcline@purdue.edu

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