Saturday, October 9, 2021

Walking the Perimeter Sidewalks for the North Campus and Jory Apartments

Construction at the Jory Apartments on the former North Campus of the State Hospital is farther along than I had realized, and it was interesting to walk the perimeter recently.

A: Looking NW from Park Ave

There seemed to be some minor deviation from the concept plans at the Planning Commission in January 2020. Here's the site plan with a key to the photos in red letters.

Site plan map (Jan. 2020) with key to photos

Though I wasn't looking for it, and may have missed it, I did not notice any curb cut at A for the private drive or road.

But at B, the sidewalk was a little weird. North of the mini cul-de-sac the sidewalk was very wide, like for a multi-use path. There was also a wide ramp and curb cut to the side street at Knox. The site concept plan snowed sidewalks of uniform width, as I had read it.

B: Looking S, sidewalk transition from wide to narrow

This wide section of walk also was a mini-slalom, curving around each Walnut tree. It was strange to see the sidewalk swerve north of the cul-de-sac, but not very much on the south side. Since the trees are going to die from that "thousand cankers" disease that has killed the others, I expected to see more of a consistent approach to the trees and sidewalk. 

But what's with the two different widths of sidewalk? Is it some substitute for a bike lane on Park Ave?

Then, at the north side of the new street, 25th, which runs north-south between Center and D, there was a wild set of right angles for a standard-width sidewalk, which on the west side of 25th was pulled in very far from the street, almost like they were planning to widen D or something. But that alignment is not continued east of 25th, so that's not the reason.

C: Looking E, transition with right angles

Perhaps it will make sense when that parcel is developed into the future park. Then maybe the sidewalk will outline bays for a new parking area. It would be a real bummer if the City was going to put any new parking along D Street instead of on 25th or 23rd, though. D Street should be calmed and new improvements made for non-auto travel, and a parking lot for the park will not help with that. And any new parking lot may not be consistent with climate goals. The City really needs to think more about the way it supplies parking for new park projects.

In the near term, very soon a desire path that cuts a diagonal will erode and compact a little bit of grass, and it will be easy to see that people don't follow the absurd right angled alignment.

As more construction is finished it will be interesting to see the final context and purpose for these sidewalk oddities.

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