Keeping Rose Street closed makes campus safer


A biker crosses Rose Street on campus in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday, September 24, 2013.

Editorial Staff

If all goes as planned, Rose Street will never again connect through from Columbia Avenue to Huguelet Drive. With city council approval, UK will keep that portion of Rose Street closed to make the stretch of road safer for UK students and staff.

In all, students will not notice much of a difference from the way things are this year. According to UK spokesman Jay Blanton, cars will still be able to park at the Funkhouser Building and neighboring lots. This will allow faculty, staff, student workers and handicapped community members to continue parking near their place of work, and pedestrians crossing from the W.T. Young Library or residence halls will be able to walk to classes safely.

“Thousands of students cross this street daily from the campus core to and from points west of Rose, including W.T. Young Library, the residence halls and The 90,” Blanton said. “Pedestrian and bicycle traffic will also increase in front of the Academic Science Building when it opens this coming fall.”

Blanton said UK is working with the city officials and neighbors on the project.

The street will “function much as it does now,” he said in an email to the Kentucky Kernel. “It will be open to local traffic in and out of Funkhouser Drive, as well as to emergency and service vehicles.”

With a cut to thru traffic and increased safety for pedestrians, especially with the completion of the Academic Science Building, closing Rose Street is a great example of how UK has increased student safety.

“Specific goals of that plan, which we think the closure of Rose Street will also help with, include: promote safe access to and around campus, preserve pedestrian priority in the campus core, promote walkability and pedestrian connections, create a cohesive campus via pedestrian corridors, provide emergency access to the core, provide accessible routes and options and enhance bicycle connectivity,” Blanton said.

As of now, the block on Rose Street is the only one to be closed, and cosmetic changes will be made to help improve how the street looks.

While it may make driving through campus more difficult, the closure will provide UK community members an added level of safety and protection. Students will be more productive without having to worry about vehicle traffic when walking home or somewhere to study.

Those driving through campus also will be able to drive without worrying about hitting jaywalkers, especially between class times.

UK is focusing on the safety of students in a practical way. The changes will continue to lower risk on campus, and with more enforcement, those driving on campus should be able to plan ahead and limit some of the traffic or other concerns that came with closing the three-way stop at Columbia Avenue. As students, faculty and staff become more comfortable with the closure, safety will only increase.

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*Correction: Plans to close the portion of Rose street from Columbia Avenue to Huguelet Drive are awaiting city council approval.