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July 27, 1998

Major construction work about to begin in center of campus

'Core East' project will affect parking, transportation

Artist's rendering of the Bay Tree Bookstore/Graduate Commons project

By Francine Tyler

Two years from now, the area currently occupied by the Bay Tree Bookstore and Whole Earth Restaurant will feature a modern bookstore, a new graduate student center, an attractive pedestrian plaza, and many other amenities.

Construction on the $13.5 million project is scheduled to start as early as August 10. When the work is completed in spring 2000, UCSC will boast a vibrant new crossroads in an area that is dubbed "Core East" in the campus's LRDP (Long-Range Development Plan) Implementation Program. Project planners predict that members of the UCSC community will come to the redesigned area--at the very heart of the campus--to meet, eat, shop, or simply enjoy the atmosphere.

In the Core East area, the new Bay Tree Bookstore will offer an expanded selection of books, supplies, and services; a convenience store with extended hours; and a copy center. The Graduate Commons will provide recreational and office space for graduate students. The Whole Earth Restaurant, which will move into the ground floor of the commons building, will feature patio tables for people to eat on the plaza.

The project will also provide space for conference rooms and new offices for Student Affairs programs and services.

During construction, the project will significantly impact parking and transportation: A small section at the top of Hagar Drive will become a one-way road traveling northbound between Steinhart and McLaughlin, 85 parking spaces in the bookstore lot will disappear, and the Upper Quarry and several existing pathways through the bookstore area will be closed (see maps).

"There's going to be two years of disruption for many years of benefit," said senior architect Bret Caton.

Another major project, the construction of student apartments at Social Sciences 1 and 2, is also expected to begin in August. One of the parking lots north of the buildings, with approximately 35 spaces, will be needed by the contractors for a staging area while the construction takes place. The apartments will house 280 undergraduate students. They were originally planned to be completed in fall 1999; delays in breaking ground may affect the completion date. (See previous story for additional construction projects that are under way or planned.)

Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) is taking steps to help people cope with inconveniences caused by this latest wave of campus construction. Shuttle services will be rerouted and schedules made more flexible to better serve the affected areas, additional parking will be provided in the East Remote Lot, and an improved link with a Santa Cruz County ride-sharing program will help people find carpool partners more easily, said TAPS assistant director Jule Tanner.

To help with both projects, TAPS also plans to expand the area set aside for its attendant-parking program in the East Remote Lot (see previous story on attendant-parking at the East Remote Lot) to accommodate anyone wishing to park in that area. Express shuttle service will be provided between East Remote and the rest of the campus core during commute hours and lunchtime. Tanner estimates a shuttle or transit bus will stop at the lot every three to five minutes.

"With frequent shuttle service, parking in the East Remote Lot might be more convenient than looking for close-in parking in very impacted areas," Tanner added. "We are committed to adding as many spaces in the East Remote Lot through attendant parking as necessary to meet that demand. People will also be able to exchange 'A' permits for 'R' permits, thereby saving half of the cost."

For the Social Sciences 1 and 2 project, the campus is also considering other path, parking, and shuttle-route improvements to reduce impacts of the construction.

During construction in the bookstore area, the Bay Tree Bookstore and Whole Earth Restaurant will remain open and will be accessible via pathways from Hagar Drive, Steinhart Way, and the Classroom Unit Building. Shuttles will continue to drop off and pick up passengers there as before, and parking for disabled persons will be provided.

Most of the permit and meter parking spaces will be eliminated during construction; 16 spaces, including 3 for the disabled, will be replaced when the project is completed. TAPS is also converting some existing permit spaces to meter spaces in the East Field House Lot for visitors to OPERS, Bay Tree, and the Whole Earth, Tanner said.

The construction will affect pedestrians as well, as several pathways in the Bay Tree area will be closed. Pathways from McLaughlin and the Classroom Unit to the bookstore lot will be closed, as will the tunnel linking the north side of McLaughlin and the Upper Quarry. Remaining open will be a pathway that runs below the Classroom Unit to the bookstore area.

To accommodate pedestrians who would normally walk through the bookstore area, the southbound (downhill) lane of Hagar Drive will be closed to vehicular traffic from McLaughlin Drive to the stop sign at Steinhart Way. The closed traffic lane will then become a pedestrian pathway. Bicyclists are encouraged to use alternate routes to leave campus or walk their bikes on the pathway. They may continue to ride up Hagar Drive with the automobile traffic when coming up to campus.

The "Crown south" shuttle stop at the corner of McLaughlin and Hagar Drives will also be closed once Hagar becomes one-way. Tanner expects the road change to take place sometime next month.

"We realize that this construction project will create inconvenience for the campus community, and we have worked very hard with various campus representatives to develop a plan to minimize the anticipated problems," said Police Chief Jan Tepper, who oversees TAPS. "We have tried to find the best solutions, based on safety, traffic, and convenience needs.

"We ask for everyone's understanding and patience during this construction period," she said. "We will continue to evaluate traffic and parking patterns caused by this project to enable us to address community needs."

For ongoing parking and transportation updates related to construction, go to the TAPS Web page at www2.ucsc.edu/taps/.

Go to fact sheet on the Core East construction

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