An exit-only lane from Southern Village’s Timberland Terrace to University Drive will be opened on October 25, according to Tom Verrill, Financial Administration senior vice president. This is the first phase in a plan intended to alleviate early morning traffic caused by Collegedale Academy Elementary and Southern Village residents on College Drive, according to Kevin Penrod, director of campus safety. In addition, Penrod hopes this move will increase safety for pedestrians crossing the road during this busy time.
“It’s a mess because for about 15 to 17 minutes, you’re trying to fit 300 people in a two-way section. … It doesn’t work,” Penrod said.
The problem was brought to Campus Safety’s attention by Student Association (SA) Vice President Kenneth Bautista through Kari Shultz, director of student life and activities. Then Penrod, Verrill and Shawn Haas, assistant director of campus safety, observed the problem on Thursday, September 30.
“[We] were at the traffic area and just watched and observed and tried to get a first-hand understanding [of the problem],” Verrill said. “And by Monday [October 4], we were meeting to discuss solutions.”
On October 5, Campus Safety presented these solutions to the SA Senate, and it was voted unanimously to open a gravel road that connects the cul-de-sac at the end of the Village apartments to University Drive.
“We will continue to monitor the traffic situation there. We believe that [this] will greatly reduce, at least for Southern students, the issue as it relates to traffic particularly in the morning,” Verill said.
He added, “We’re continuing to look at what a long-term solution might look like. It may be widening that road and doing various things. But, right now, we’re trying to relieve the immediate problem by opening up an exit-only [lane].”
Students like junior nursing major Sierra Anderson, a Southern Village resident, are excited for the new lane.
“I think it’s a problem not only for Southern students, but also for the parents trying to bring their kids to the elementary school,” Anderson said. “So, it’s a good plan to implement for both groups of people.”