FOCUS AREAS-

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FIRST STEPS IN IMPLEMENTATION

CAMPUS CONNECTOR

Purpose

This pedestrian and open space link is important in integrating the new east campus facilities into the life of the College, and in reducing the perceived distance between the two campuses. It also creates The Oval, an important new civic green space for use by the College community, and unique small green courtyard spaces between the new buildings at the edge of the East Campus.


Description

The Oval is sited on open space created by the removal of the State service buildings and portions of the existing parking lots. The intent is to create a unique and significant orienting green space between the two campuses. The large, oval lawn, surrounded by trees, opens up the view between the Forman Center and the new Performing Arts Center. It creates an inviting space along the route between the two campuses, thereby helping to minimize the perceived walking distance. Unlike any existing green space on campus, it is large enough to accommodate special College community programs, and could assume an important role in the life and image of the College.

At the western end of The Oval a small pavilion building provides a covered waiting/sitting space at a new campus bus stop. In addition, the pavilion could be designed for flexible use by vendors and the community-uses that can enliven and further improve the connection between the two campuses. Both the pavilion and the open space provide an attractive "front yard" for the new Performing Arts Center. The site for the Performing Arts Center is also enhanced by the relocation and replanting of Library Road on its northern side and by the addition of a new parking area to the east with a pedestrian connection from the parking lot to the building entry.

Improvements to the pedestrian path along the north side of Library Road between Whipple Hall and the Performing Arts Center will form a promenade extending the green space of the Oval west - an "arts walk". This widened sidewalk, grassy bank, and rows of trees form the next link in the pedestrian route from the East Campus to the Mall.

Improvements to the existing parking east of Whipple Hall and the parking along Cole Road are proposed, along with the addition of new parking lots north of Building 6 to provide a continuous parking loop from Cole Road to Library Road. Both new and existing parking areas are to receive durable curbs, site lights, and planted islands. Plant materials for the islands are to be chosen for their tolerance for urban growing conditions, as well as for their low maintenance characteristics, such as drought tolerance, small leaves and the lack of problematic fruits.

Pedestrian desire lines between the two campuses are accommodated by a system of gently curving cement concrete walks. Major walks, including the walk encircling the oval, are to be eight feet in width; secondary walkways are six feet in width. Both major and secondary walkways are to have six foot minimum radii at their 90 intersections to accommodate pedestrian movement and snow plow access. This minimum radius is to be adjusted appropriately for intersections of acute and obtuse angles. Campus standard benches and pedestrian site lights are to line the major walks.

Planting along the walkways is proposed to enrich and vary the pedestrian experience. Lawns and large deciduous shade trees predominate. Trees are informally sited along the walkways to avoid the appearance of long corridors and to shape a variety of open green spaces.

Plantings in the spaces between Buildings 1 through 6 are to be selected and laid out to create unique green courtyard spaces between these virtually identical buildings. For example, in one courtyard, plantings might be predominantly evergreen trees; in another, an oval of flowering trees could shape the space. In another, a featured deciduous tree genus or species might provide a unique character to the space. Along with these special plantings, campus benches are sited to create sociable gathering places at the building entries. Wherever possible within the connector, important existing trees should be protected and integrated into the design of walkways and planting to accelerate the transformation of this portion of the campus into a space for people.

STUDENT UNION ENTRANCE COURT and DONAVAN LOADING AREA

Purpose:

Service access to both the Donovan Dining Center and the Student Union conflicts with the main pedestrian route from the Residence Halls to the Mall and major entrances to the Student Union and the Dining Hall. Current service access to the Student Union is across a paved plaza south of the building. The dumpster for that building sits by its front entrance. The service area for Donovan is south of that building, prominently visible from parking Lot K and the drop-off area for both buildings, and directly in the path of visitors to the Faculty Center who have parked in Lot K. In addition to their being unsightly, the current service areas are disruptive: trucks using either block traffic in Lot K as they maneuver, sometimes to the point that queues extend to College Road.

Description:

The plan for this focus area addresses the specific problems of the loading dock, and recommends comprehensive improvements to the area. The plan for service access to Donovan proposes substantially reducing the paved area of the current service yard, allowing that area to be landscaped to obscure the loading dock and provide an attractive route from parking to the Faculty Center. A small addition to the current loading dock turns it ninety degrees, so trucks can back straight in from Lot K in a single, simple maneuver. The Rhode Island College Student Union Feasibility Study, January 1999, prepared by William D Warner Architects & Planners, recommends relocating the Student Union service access to a loading dock at the ground floor, accessed from Parking Lot J. That allows the plaza south of the upper level of the student center to be landscaped to form an inviting entrance court to both the Student Union and Donovan from Lot K and from the Residence Halls. The plan proposes developing a wider, more attractive pathway leading from the entrance court, south to the Residence Halls, and extending north, over the student center loading dock and down a flight of stairs to a dining terrace at the lower level of the Student Union, then to the Mall.

This path, moved from the curb to an alignment between the row of mature trees that line Parking Lot K, and the stand of woods to the west will mark a gracious route between the main campus and the residential campus. By moving the path west, the several ad hoc pedestrian crossings at College Road can be consolidated, and marked by special paving and a raised "traffic table" that will limit the speed of cars, making this point of pedestrian and vehicle conflict safer.

MOUNT PLEASANT AVENUE ENTRANCE

Purpose

Bring clarity and prominence to the Mount Pleasant Avenue entrance. The less used Fruit Hill entrance is far more effective as a gateway to the College. Improvements to the Mount Pleasant Avenue entrance will establish a unified collegiate image for the College.

Description

A new sign to match the Fruit Hill entrance sign as shown in the signage section of the Master Plan Report is recommended. A broad crescent-shaped stonewall would visually anchor the entry sign and create a more expansive setting at the front entrance. The stone work would be similar to that backing up the Fruit Hill entrance sign. The existing pines would be retained and additional evergreen trees and shrub plantings would further reinforce the space as well as screen the College Apartments to the right. Additional evergreen plantings to the left of the the entry would help to frame the entry and screen utility structures. Flowering tree planting would be added in front of the evergreens for color and middle ground interest. Utility lines along College Road would be buried or relocated and the light fixtures replaced with a College standard.

The plan illustrates the relocation of the College Apartment's driveway from College Road to Mt. Pleasant Avenue. The existing drive would be in filled with planting materials to screen the apartments and frame the entry drive. The woodland edge all along College Road would be shaped for variety and interest with the addition of evergreen trees, flowering trees, and shrubs. Varying the width of the turf shoulder will help to modulate the linearity of the road alignment.

RESIDENTIAL QUAD

Purpose

Campus residential life is enhanced through the provision of spaces and facilities for the use of all the students of the residential quad and by providing physical connections that reinforce relationships between the buildings and the center of campus. The master plan proposes strengthening this neighborhood with improved pedestrian walks, a new Residential Quad, recreational facilities, and improved plantings and site lights.

Description

The Master Plan proposes a reorganization of the residential halls around the Residential Quad created by the selective thinning of the existing trees east of Browne Hall. Passing along one edge of this space is a new main walkway connecting the residential halls to the parking lot for residential students to the south, and the campus academic center to the north. Increased student activity along this walk will improve perceptions of campus safety and walking distances.

The central open space at the core of the quad is to be informal in nature, accommodating outdoor study on the lawn as well as frisbee throwing or ball tossing. Less centrally located, but connected to this space are facilities with a large, but less universal appeal, a paved basketball court and a sand volleyball court.

PARKING LOT and ROADWAY IMPROVEMENTS

PARKING LOT A

Purpose

Located on College Road near the College's main entrance on Mt. Pleasant Avenue, Parking Lot A is highly visible and creates an initial image of the campus. It is important, therefore, that this lot reflect the College's vision for the campus as a place where pedestrians are more important than vehicles. To this end, the master plan proposes several modifications to separate and screen the lot from College Road.

Description

The Master Plan calls for the creation of a 20 to 30 foot buffer between the lot and the road. The buffer includes a gently rolling 18" berm planted with three-foot high shrub masses, to help screen the views of the parked cars from the road. Street trees along the berm further screen the lot, as well as extend the entry landscape character along College Road. The reorientation of parking within the lot, in addition to the location of a circulation aisle along the edge closest to the roadway, further separates the parked cars from the roadway. Finally, the provision of planted islands at the end of each aisle creates another layer of screening of the lot from vehicles entering the campus.

Trees and shrubs for the islands are to be chosen for their ability to withstand a limited growing space and limited water, and for their low maintenance characteristics, such as small leaves and the lack of problematic fruits. Durable curbing is proposed for the entire lot to protect planted areas and control parking within the lot. The light fixture proposed for the lot, the standard for campus vehicular areas, is 'Archetype' by Kim Lighting, a full cut-off single- or double-mounted light. This fixture is compatible with the campus standard pedestrian fixture and is located along the pedestrian way connecting to Parking Lot A.

PARKING LOT J

Purpose

Located on College Road near the entrance to the campus from Fruit Hill Avenue, this very large Parking Lot J provides an important initial view of the campus. For this reason, the enhancement and screening of Lot J plays a key role in orienting visitors and establishing the image of a pedestrian-friendly campus.

Description

The master plan calls for the creation of islands, planted with shrubs and trees, to separate and screen the parking aisles of Parking Lot J from Library Road. A large central island serves to diminish the visual mass of the parking lot, while demarcating the faculty parking area from the open student parking, and providing a clear route through the lot for buses that are loading/unloading passengers at the athletic complex plaza.

To further enhance bus circulation and drop-off, universally accessible parking spaces are relocated on the plaza end of the first two aisles, extending the bus drop-off zone to Library Road. The pedestrian connection from the parking lot to the plaza is improved through the addition of a 'collector' sidewalk along the length of the eastern edge of the parking lot. Curbing is proposed for the entire lot to control parking within the lot and to protect planted areas. Plant materials for the islands are to be chosen for their ability to withstand a limited growing space and limited water, as well as for their low maintenance characteristics, such as small leaves and the lack of problematic fruits. Large deciduous trees will provide shade for some parked cars in summer and break up the scale of this large parking area.The parking lot is to be illuminated by the 'Archetype' light fixture, which is proposed as the standard for campus vehicular areas. The pedestrian collector walkway is to be illuminated by the campus standard pedestrian fixture.

HENNESSEY AVENUE SERVICE AREA

Purpose

This plan tests the feasibility of accessing a consolidated, service facility, from Fruit Hill Ave., to Hennessey Avenue. The plan proposes converting the former dance studio into a sort of trans-shipping center to meet the service needs of the entire campus. Large trucks could deliver supplies in bulk, to be stored, then distributed by smaller trucks to campus buildings.

Description:

Given the typical travel speeds on Fruit Hill Ave., sight distances from the current intersection of Hennessey Avenue and Fruit Hill Ave. are insufficient for large service vehicles. The plan proposes relocating the intersection one hundred feet to one hundred and fifty feet north, to increase the sight distance. This will require the acquisition of at least one property, and demolition or re-location of the house on it. (Thecost of acquisition of the property, and demolition or re-location of the existing house on it are not included in the cost estimate.) The plan proposes re-routing Hennessey Avenue, reconfiguring a parking lot near the former dance studio, and re-configuring the building itself by adding truck docks.

Provided that grade changes between Parking Lot H and Alumni House can be adjusted, it would be possible to provide access to Alumni House, University Affiliated Programs, and the Center for Economic Education, directly from the campus, rather than from Fruit Hill Ave. A well developed entrance directly from the campus, rather than the current entrance that forces drivers to leave the campus, then drive north on Fruit Hill Ave. to get to these buildings, will make these programs better connected to the campus.

 


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