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Rutgers reveals plans to redesign College Avenue transportation routes

Metered parking on College Avenue from Huntington Street to Hamilton Street will be removed to accomodate the new bus and bike lanes. The University plans to compensate by opening metered parking behind the Rutgers Student Center.  – Photo by Rutgers University

Rutgers took its first visible step towards integrating bike and bus lanes along College Avenue this week. Slated for completion within the spring semester, the new developments will also include redesigned parking, fencing and traffic signals.

The newly designed street will feature a designated bike lane on the side of the road closest to Voorhees Mall and a buses-only lane on the opposite side, said University President Robert L. Barchi in an email to the Rutgers community. The bus lane will make it easier for Rutgers buses to move down College Avenue, effectively keeping them on schedule, he said.

“I am excited about the benefits that these changes will bring to Rutgers students, both making College Avenue more pleasant for pedestrians and bus riders and encouraging more members of our community to use bicycles,” Barchi said.

University and city officials said the changes will help to decrease congestion and make it easier for students to safely access alternative forms of transportation. This comes at a time when traffic and congestion, particularly around the Scott Hall bus stop, is impacted by the influx of pedestrian traffic at The Yard apartments.

The New Brunswick Parking Authority officially covered 50 parking meters between Huntington and Hamilton Street last weekend that will be retired permanently, according to the University’s press release. Rutgers intends to compensate for the loss of parking by incorporating 20 all-day metered spots in the lot behind the Rutgers Student Center.

Additional public parking will also be available for students at the intersection of College Avenue and Somerset Street at Alexander Johnston Hall. These spaces will be available after 6 p.m. during the week and on weekends, according to the press release.

The traffic modifications are part of the larger College Avenue Redevelopment Initiative, which includes the construction of the Academic Building and The Yard @ College Avenue apartments, according to the press release.

“These improvements mark another step in implementing the University’s physical master plan to achieve the goals of our strategic plan,” said Antonio Calcado, executive vice president for Strategic Planning and Operations at Rutgers.

According to the press release, Rutgers students said they would be more inclined to use bikes around campus if it weren’t for issues with traffic and safety. The new two-way bike lane will include a traffic buffer and is designed to extend through the most congested part of the campus.

The improvements are also expected to add an aesthetic element to the campus, Barchi said.

“The temporary plastic barriers along College Avenue by Scott Hall will be replaced in the coming weeks by an attractive, permanent fence that will run from Scott Hall to Ford Hall with gaps at crosswalks,” Barchi said.

Harsh weather could potentially affect the completion date of the project, but Barchi said he still expects all of the elements to be implemented within the course of the semester.

“Making College Avenue safer, more beautiful and easier to navigate is one more way that we are working to improve the student experience here at Rutgers,” Barchi said.

Kira Herzog is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science and journalism and media studies. She is a correspondent for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @kiraherzog1 for more.

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