Alley repairs impededBy Edward Whang
Frustrated students have impeded the already delayed Amherst Alley renovations, according to Paul F. Barrett, director of Physical Plant.
"We are running into difficulty with people on the street. They're annoyed with the construction," he said.
Barrett urged students to be patient with the construction. The construction is "annoying and frustrating, but harassing the work is only delaying completion. It's counterproductive."
The project, which began last summer, has relocated Amherst Street closer to the tennis courts from Danforth to Fowler Streets. The change is intended to provide a better environment for dormitories and fraternity houses along the alley, Barrett said.
"The project has been in the plans for 20 years. Moving the street north creates a buffer zone between the road and the dorms. It's not safe with the road right in front of the doors," he said.
Relocation of the road has resulted in an increase in the speed of vehicles traversing the alley, according to Campus Police<>
Chief James Olivieri. "The relocation of the roadway has straightened it out. Speed bumps may be put in to slow down the cars," he said.
Students have continued to complain about the decision to restrict traffic to west-bound vehicles on a portion of the alley, he said. Residents of the dormitories and fraternities on west campus formed the Amherst Alley Reconstruction Committee (AARC) last November to protest the direction of traffic flow. The AARC claimed that west-bound traffic would inconvenience west campus residents, Olivieri continued.
Portions of Amherst Alley were designated west-bound because the nearest fire houses are located in Kendall Square and in Lafayette Square, Olivieri said. Police and fire emergency equipment can most rapidly reach west campus by entering through the Massachusetts Avenue entrance.
Many drivers had been using the alley as a "short cut" to get from Memorial Drive to Massachusetts Avenue, according to Olivieri. "We wanted to make it a pedestrian path as much as possible," he said.
Some landscaping will occur in the reclaimed zone between the dorms and the relocated alley. Tentative improvements include a sidewalk, benches and plants, according to Barrett.