Campus Planning

Update 2008: Master Plan Workshops

October 23-24

Update 2008

Topics of Discussion:  OFF-CAMPUS ISSUES
Roads, Wayfinding and Signs, City and Neighborhood Issues

bullet Is the light at Oakland Drive, Wheaton Avenue, and Oliver Street going to remain a flashing yellow light?
Now that the project to reconfigure Oliver Street between West Campus and Oakland Drive Campus is complete, the city of Kalamazoo will be undertaking traffic counts to determine what the new driving patterns are and to verify the need for a regular traffic light.

bullet Replacing three hazardous railroad crossings on Stadium Drive with one lighted intersection was a good idea.  However, there is no longer a W. Michigan approach to the main campus. 
bullet What can be done to improve the Lowell St. intersection?
There are long-term plans to improve the appearance and the welcoming aspects of Stadium Drive on the eastern approach to campus.  Clearly defined and visible campus entrances are one of the Master Plan’s Fundamental Concepts.  Anything involving multiple properties and governing jurisdictions takes time, planning, and dollars to accomplish; these changes will be made gradually over time, usually as parts of many different projects.

The Lowell St./Stadium Dr./South St. group of intersections is the most direct link between the WMU and Kalamazoo College campuses and the downtown business district.  It has been, and will continue to be, on the planning table at WMU and the city of Kalamazoo for years.  It has been the focus of community projects as well.  It is highly congested almost any time of day, it is confusing for drivers, and it is one of the most unfriendly intersections for pedestrians and bicyclists in the city.  The difficulty lies in making changes to the road configuration, landscaping, and signage that truly simplify and don’t merely increase the confusion.  Unless carefully planned and tested, more signage may just increase the visual clutter for already distracted motorists.

bullet Are there plans for other road projects?
There are on-going discussions with the city to reconfigure the intersection at W. Michigan and Western Avenues.

bullet Why don’t we direct people to the east side of campus via Lovell Street?  Isn’t that friendlier and more pleasant than Stadium Drive?
The university must be sensitive to the affect that 10,000+ commuters have each day on the neighboring streets and residential neighborhoods.  WMU, the city, the county and MDOT all work to ensure that the roads and arteries designated as entrance and exits for campus can successfully handle that volume of traffic.  When drivers seek detours into the nearby residential neighborhoods they are usually quite unwelcome.  Every effort is made to make the main roads as convenient for commuters as possible so they aren’t tempted into “shortcuts”.

bullet Can we get better signs directing people to campus from the highway?
Driving between campus and downtown Kalamazoo is confusing, especially the return trip; not enough WMU direction signs.
bullet The east entrance and the routes between downtown Kalamazoo to the campus do not have adequate signage or directions.  Can we get better signage to direct people to this side of campus?

The signs installed on the highways, state roads, and city streets are determined by MDOT or the local governing body.  WMU contributes information and recommendations as to content, but the final decision rests outside the university.

bullet Is there a bike path out to the Parkview Campus?
A portion of the Kalamazoo Non-Motorized Vehicle Trail is on the main campus between Lovell and Howard Streets, roughly parallel to Stadium Drive, identifiable by the black fencing that lines it.  The Non-Motorized Trail continues along Stadium Drive as an asphalt path.  Riders can then follow the bike lanes on Drake Road to get to the Parkview Campus.

bullet Are there plans for connecting with downtown Kalamazoo?
bullet How does community and WMU planning merge?

bullet Is the university working with the West Main Neighborhood Association?
An institution the size of WMU is essentially a small city completely surrounded by a larger city, Kalamazoo.  The physical, social, and cultural connections between WMU, downtown Kalamazoo, and the local neighborhoods are very important to the well-being and economic health of the community. 

For WMU students, their overall satisfaction with the campus experience is directly related to the links and connections they have to their surroundings.  Helping students to find shopping, restaurants and other activities in the surrounding neighborhoods is one way to forge these community links.

WMU staff regularly participate in planning meetings and workshops with its neighbors, and likewise keeps them apprised of major projects.

 

Planning Division of Facilities Management; Mail #5313
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo MI 49008 USA
(269) 387-8543 or 387-8544 | (269) 387-8818 Fax
campus-facility@wmich.edu

 

Shipping Address:
Planning Division; Facilities Management
Campus Services Building

1201 Oliver Street

Kalamazoo, MI  49008