CONWAY,SC (WMBF) - Coastal Carolina University is working to make campus safer for pedestrians.
A new traffic light is being installed on University Boulevard at University Drive as part of a master plan to improve traffic flow and safety on campus. There is still some construction work to be done. Then once Santee Cooper turns on the electricity for the lights, they will blink yellow for a few days to give everyone a heads up that something is about to change. Then it'll switch over to a real three-way stoplight.
As part of the master plan, parking lots will be moved to the outskirts of campus. That way the internal parts of campus are designated and safer for pedestrians.
There are over 525 parking spaces in just the Lackey Chapel parking lot. So in order to safely cross students from the lot, the university wanted to make sure there was a light with sensors and timers. For the time being, they have been doing it the old fashioned way with crossing guards until the light can go up.
"Rather than them looking both ways and trying to jockey across the street, they were just able to rely on that crossing guard to allow them the time they needed to cross," says Stacie Bowie, the vice president of Finance and Administration at CCU. Once the light is up and running, the crossing guards will go back to their regular jobs as security personnel on campus.
They have also put barricades up to force people to slow down even more. There are already lights at other intersections, but this is one of the main entrances to campus for pedestrians.
After the light is fully functioning, they'll add in raised brick crosswalks, known as speed tables. You'll drive up at an angle, drive across, and drive down at an angle. They will also add a speed table at the intersection by the soccer field.
This new traffic light is one of a few major projects still left in the university's master plan. But in order to complete anything on their master plan, they needed to take control of University Boulevard from SCDOT. In doing so, the university is now responsible for the maintenance of the road.
The university also now has control of the speed limit on campus. Leaders have not determined yet whether or not they are going to change the speed limit. Before they make that determination, they want to get these new traffic lights working and get them synchronized so all traffic is moving at once.
Looking to the future, they are also working on designating parking lots for the Fall 2015. Now that they have most of the lots finished, they're going to designate who can park where and how that will affect traffic flow. There is also just one last office building to be constructed.
CCU means big money and job opportunities for the surrounding communities. According to CCU's research economist Rob Salvino, in 2012 the university provided 3,636 jobs in Horry County. That translates to an estimated $160.2 million of household income and $439.6 million of economic output.?