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Traffic delays continue

By Sarah Knepp, For The Miami Student

Students looking to walk to Bachelor Hall might want to give themselves more time for their commute.

Long wait times at crosswalks coupled with heavy traffic from construction have been causing a congestion of both cars and pedestrians on campus as of late.

Last year, the timing of the lights and the crosswalk in front of Bachelor Hall were modified to create an "all-cross" system aimed at improving safety.

"The intersection is very difficult for pedestrians and motorists," said Cody Powell, the associate vice president of Facility Planning and Operations. "The improvements were intended to clear the intersection of vehicles allowing pedestrians to have an 'all-cross' to traverse all crosswalks in all directions simultaneously."

This change requires pedestrians to wait longer for a chance to cross the street. This can inconvenience students. However, the inconvenience has succeeded in improving safety conditions for pedestrians.

"The trade-off to the improved safety is that one must wait a bit longer for the all-cross," Powell said. "While this is certainly not ideal, we feel that preventing accidents and student safety is a top priority."

Student safety is also a concern for just one of several other construction projects going on around campus, like the closure of the intersection of Chestnut Street and U.S. Route 27.

This closure is creating numerous traffic delays - and drivers are noticing.

"It's really difficult to know when to leave for class," said Nicki Cuba, a junior who lives off of Sycamore Street, a far walking distance from campus.

Cuba is an education major and relies on her car to get to various mandatory activities for her classes.

"It's even more difficult to know when to leave for my teaching experiences," she said. "When there's only one way in and out of Oxford when you're headed to Cincinnati, it can get really congested with all of the construction."

The delays leave drivers with less time and more worries when they are trying to reach their destinations.

"It adds an unnecessary level of stress to my commute and I really don't appreciate it," Cuba said.

Powell said the construction on the stretch of U.S. Route 27 near Spring Street and Patterson Avenue began Aug. 26 and is expected to last several weeks. The closure of the Chestnut and Route 27 intersection itself is only expected to last 30 more days.

During breaks throughout the school year, when Miami student leave, Oxford loses a majority of its population. Scheduling the project to begin as soon as students returned to campus from summer break seemed counterproductive.

However, the construction actually has nothing to do with Miami, or even the city of Oxford. Powell said the Ohio Department of Transportation is responsible for the construction project.

The Ohio Department of Transportation scheduled the construction because the summer break simply did not allow enough time to complete the project.

"The work is much too extensive to schedule only within a three-month window when Miami University is out of session," said Sharon Smigielski, a public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The construction is just one part of a two-year project to widen U.S. Route 27, which began in spring 2014 and should be completed by summer 2016.

According to Smigielski, the scope of work includes widening and resurfacing 1.05 miles of U.S. 27, adjusting the vertical profile of U.S. 27, adding turn lanes and upgrading traffic signals to the latest design standards. Additionally, approach roads are to be realigned as well as existing drainage reconstruction

Despite all the frustrations that come along with various projects, the Planning and Facilities team said it takes into consideration the opinions of students, faculty and staff at Miami when discussing construction projects.

"We did have some conversations with student groups," Powell said. "We received some really good feedback which we are now incorporating into our future planning."