As part of the long-range campus plan and redesign, urban architects are proposing to remove the UCSB bicycle tunnel that travels under Ocean Road and leads onto Pardall Road and replacing it with a street intersection.
Civic designers from the Pittsburgh-based Urban Design Associates (UDA) held a series of presentations in the Santa Rosa Formal Lounge on Wednesday where they outlined their proposed construction plan for the campus. At the presentation, UDA representatives unveiled concept drawings and maps that showed the proposed layout and design of new housing edifices, roads and the company’s recommendations for renovation of current residential buildings.
UDA’s overall plans try to create a network of interconnected roads and bike paths throughout UCSB-owned properties. Ray Gindroz, UDA principle architect, said the proposed layout of buildings and bike paths tries to make vehicle, bike and pedestrian traffic more efficient by giving commuters different routes to reach their destination.
“If we don’t network the roads, El Colegio [Road] will end up taking the entire load of traffic,” Gindroz said.
As part of the proposed designs, maps showed that the tunnel under Ocean Road, often called the Pardall corridor, would be removed to make room for new residential buildings that are constructed with a more urban style. The current bike path leading away from campus and into I.V. would intersect with Ocean Road, and bicyclists would interact with cross vehicle traffic.
The Pardall corridor currently has the highest amount of bike traffic on a daily basis between class changes at 10 minutes to the hour. UDA’s plan would introduce new bike paths that lead into and out of UCSB at streets perpendicular to Ocean Road, such as Trigo Road, Sabado Tarde Road or Madrid Road. Ian Lockwood, a civic designer with expertise in bike transportation contracted by UDA, said the additional bike paths would help to distribute the amount of bike traffic that currently passes through the Pardall corridor.
Lockwood said UDA has not decided on what traffic control measures, such as a stop sign or a traffic light, would be put in place where bike paths intersect Ocean Road.
“Based on the feedback we’ve received today, we’re going to have to think about this,” he said.
The plans are part of the university’s Long Range Development Plan, a blueprint for the campus that will be implemented over the next 15 to 20 years, and the university hired UDA to strategize UCSB’s structural growth.
Gindroz said UDA’s plans help UCSB-owned properties and areas on the lands’ borders become a more sustainable urban place, in terms of traffic, full usage, retail and accessibility.
Although the design firm held two sessions where it displayed the bike path aspect of the plans, one at 9 a.m. and one later at 5 p.m., only a total of about 10 students attended either presentation. Off-Campus Rep Adam Graff, who attended the second session, said he was concerned about the safety of bike riders at the Ocean Road intersections.
“When you run into an area where bikes and cars intersect, the bikes don’t stop,” Graff said.
Jamie Goldstein, a Santa Barbara County civic designer, said he is cautious about major changes to the Pardall corridor. He said the intersection at Embarcadero del Norte and Pardall suffers from vehicle traffic generated by the volume of bikes traveling on Pardall during class change times.
“The intersection at Pardall and [Embarcadero] del Norte is a mess,” he said. “It’s a hand wringing exercise for the county. My concern is that you would have the same problem at del Norte.”