Getting around campus — particularly to and from the Northern Academic District and the “Cage” and Duck Pond Drive Overflow Lots — just got easier thanks to a new six-foot-wide asphalt pathway along Duck Pond Drive between West Campus Drive and Smithfield Road.
The new pathway will help enhance pedestrian and traffic safety while providing an accessible route through an area where a sidewalk did not previously exist.
Responding to increased pedestrian traffic along Duck Pond Drive, the pathway was created through a coordinated effort among the Office for Equity and Accessibility; the Division of Finance; the Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities; and Enterprise Administrative and Business Services.
“With construction taking place in the North Academic and Perry Street regions to enhance long-term academic and transportation offerings and the shift to increased parking in the Cage and Duck Pond Lots, we have seen more students traversing Duck Pond Drive this semester,” said Lynsay Belshe, vice president for enterprise administrative and business services. “With safety top of mind and nearing winter’s approach with its risk of snow banks and slippery roads, we had to quickly identify and implement a solution to improve safety, mobility, and accessibility.”
Led by Bob Broyden, associate vice president for campus planning and capital financing, stakeholders from numerous operations units established an optimal pathway that could be enacted quickly and complement long-term campus planning efforts.
The group pinpointed a near-term solution: an asphalt pathway that runs along the Virginia Tech Golf Course.
With shorter days and winter weather on the horizon, as well as the seasonal shutdown of asphalt production, the solution was accepted less than a week after the proposal was submitted by Broyden.
“Asphalt vendors and installers reduce and stop activity in the winter because pavers use a hot mixture of asphalt. If ground temperatures are too cold, the asphalt won’t compact properly and reduce the lifespan of the asphalt,” said Anthony Watson, director of facilities operations services and events and deputy to the assistant vice president for facilities operations.
The pathway funding request received unanimous approval among Virginia Tech leadership, underscoring a universitywide commitment to safety. The responsive and synergistic approach among campus partners was vital in getting this initiative funded and construction underway within weeks – and before winter in Blacksburg,” said Broyden.