Graig Mantle

With construction just completed, two thoroughfares feeding into the university have been opened up, making the drive, walk or bike ride to school less of a hassle.

The intersections of Santa Rosa Street and Highland Drive as well as California and Foothill boulevards opened two weeks ago; construction on the nearby Alex G. Spanos Stadium and the Bella Montana faculty housing complex are still underway. The school and city will continue to make aesthetic and safety improvements to both locations.

As construction began on the new and soon-to-be improved stadium in August 2005, so did improvements on the intersection of California and Foothill boulevards. The street portion of the project was finished Jan. 30.

The completion of this intersection, another option for entering Cal Poly’s campus, has “improved, as expected, vehicular circulation,” said Cindy Campbell, associate director of the University Police Department.

Future improvements for this intersection will include the installation of a sidewalk and crosswalk at the north end of the stadium, completion of a pedestrian walkway beneath the stadium and new measures for calming traffic.

The additional crosswalk will make it easier for students entering campus from in front of the Business building, Stenner Glen and Mustang Village. The completion of the crosswalk has been pushed back due to weather conditions.

Blen Comer, a civil engineering sophomore and a two-time Mustang Village resident, has made the trek from the student housing complex to campus daily. But for her, the completion of the intersection has provided her with a new source of anxiety.

“Now that it is open, I have to worry about people driving fast. It’s more dangerous and more of a hassle,” Comer said. “Since construction is completed and the signs are down, people seem to be driving faster than before.”

All lanes have been open at the Santa Rosa Street and Highland Drive intersection as of Feb. 2. A center divider on Highland Drive just prior to its intersection with Santa Rosa Street has been added and the street has been widened from two lanes to three.

The original target completion date for the road construction project was Dec. 18. Due to permitting delays and the fact that the city does not allow roads to be closed during the holidays, this date was pushed back a couple of weeks.

As with the completion of the other intersection, now that construction is finished, traffic has improved.

“Now that there are three lanes instead of two, there have not been any delays or backups by traffic moving off Highland Drive toward campus or onto (U.S.) Highway 1 since the completion,” said Jim Reinhart, managing director of the Cal Poly Housing Corp., the organization responsible for the Bella Monta¤a project.

Before, heavy weekday traffic made getting to school difficult in the morning, he said.

For architecture junior Cari Ellis who lives about a block from where construction occurred on Ferrini Road, the completion of the project has brought mixed feelings.

“Before, we were literally woken up to grating noises. They would do this one thing that sounded like screeching metal,” she said. “I saw and heard the construction every day.

“Now, having the permanent divider there is a protection for those walking or riding their bikes, but for driving it’s a hassle. It’s good or bad, depending on how you look at it.”

The city still plans to landscape the median, transforming the dirt dotting the scenery with flowers and trees. It is the city’s responsibility to decide when this will take place, Reinhart said.

As of now, a completion date for this landscaping has not been set.

With the roads now open but improvements still being made, Campbell and the rest of the University Policy Department urges students to take caution when crossing the streets.

“One of the things we’ve not only noticed at the California Boulevard opening, but around campus, are students fully or partially unaware of their surroundings because of cell phones, iPods, or other MP3 players,” Campbell said.

“You must be aware of your surroundings and not just assume that cars will stop or swerve for you. It’s perfectly okay to have and use these items, but students need to consider their personal safety, too.”

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