UNL planners present master plan ideas

2013-01-22T21:00:00Z 2013-05-30T11:22:04Z UNL planners present master plan ideasBy KEVIN ABOUREZK / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

Planners developing ideas that will guide growth at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for at least the next 15 years shared their recommendations Tuesday.

Those included turning a parking lot east of Memorial Stadium into a vast green space where students can gather on game days and between classes, as well as a beefed-up transit system along 14th Street with designated lanes for pedestrians, bicyclers and shuttles on City Campus.

Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Mass., an architectural firm hired by the university to update its 2006 master plan and landscape master plan, presented its recommendations Tuesday at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center. A theater was nearly filled with students, faculty, staff and others for the lecture.

The company plans to finish the master plan by March and hopes to gain approval from the University of Nebraska Board of Regents by early summer.

“We’re here to think about the future,” said Greg Havens, a principal for Sasaki Associates. “It’s not just about cars and driving. It’s about all forms of movement.”

The company is proposing redesigning the traffic loop on East Campus so it moves traffic east and west instead of in a circle around campus. It's also proposed creating a transit hub north of the Nebraska Union that would include sheltered areas for students to wait for shuttles.

The plans also include turning the first floor of Love Library North into an area with student study rooms and making that level more transparent and brighter. Sasaki Associates also proposes constructing academic buildings on both sides of Love Library North, an idea that has drawn some criticism.

“It’s about thinking big, thinking about your campus,” said Brie Hensold, project manager and planner at Sasaki Associates.

Lenora Allen, a senior graphics design student, said she liked the proposed green spaces, as well as the 14th Street multitransit mall. She also liked creating green spaces adjacent to a drainage corridor on East Campus that would allow students to interact with nature.

However, she said she was concerned about closing 14th Street to traffic between Vine Street and Salt Creek Roadway. She said that could make it difficult to access residence halls east of 14th Street and just south of Salt Creek Roadway.

“People would lose connection onto campus,” she said.

Reach Kevin Abourezk at 402-473-7225 or kabourezk@journalstar.com.

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