Third Street closure affects students’ usual routes

Video by Jessica Babb | Broadcast Managing Editor, Story by Brooke Hill | Staff Writer

Third Street, from Baylor Avenue to Speight Avenue, on the Baylor campus is now closed to traffic as a result of a recent safety study conducted by engineering SP+ and Kimley Horn consultants.

The areas affected most by this closure are along the front of Moody Library and near the Sid Richardson building. Drivers will be able to drive down sections of Third Street to access George W. Truett Theological Seminary and parking near Speight Avenue. Third Street, from Moody Library to the Seminary has been converted to a one-way traffic route toward the seminary, according to a university press release.

During the spring semester, engineering consultants SP Plus and Kimley Horn reviewed campus vehicular traffic patterns and recommended the partial street closure to reduce traffic and improve pedestrian safety.

“This particular segment of Third Street between Baylor Avenue and Speight Avenue is of particular concern because of the mix of motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Removing the through traffic will greatly reduce the traffic volume in the area,” said Matt Penney, director of Baylor’s Parking and Transportation Services.

Of course, the repercussion of reducing traffic at this location is an increase in traffic along other sections of campus.

“The closure is expected to increase traffic at the Third and Fourth Street intersections along Bagby Avenue. Baylor DPS is working with the City of Waco streets department to improve the traffic controls at these and other intersections,” Penney said.

Students who remained on campus over the summer have already been affected by this change.

Since Moody Library is such a popular spot on campus, many students who regularly drive there will be majorly affected as well.

“Third street has always been the best place to pick up/drop off your friends from the dorms or Moody because of its central location, so students will have to find alternate pick up or drop off locations,” said Waco sophomore Kate Castle.

Other students believe the closure will be safer for pedestrians who are walking to class or to Moody.

“Although it’s an inconvenience to those driving, it’s safer for the students constantly crossing the street to get to Moody or class. It will be more difficult to get to parking because there are several places to park that you would typically get to by driving down Third Street,” Castle said.

Another concern was that certain parking garages would become more crowded as students try to find alternate routes around campus.

 

“There is a slight possibility that the Dutton and East Campus Garages become more popular for traffic flowing East from I-35. Parking availability counters and signs are being added to both of these garages,” Penney said.

Baylor Parking Services said they will continue to work to make campus as safe as possible for students.

“This partial closure is a step towards the ultimate goal of making Baylor’s campus more pedestrian-friendly. We recognize the initial inconvenience to those on campus and we encourage drivers to plan ahead,” Penney said. “This change will result in no loss of parking, but accessing lots may be different.”