Tech Drive receives a makeover

March 26, 2009

by Danielle Cintron

Beginning April 3 there will be no more pot holes or parking on Tech Drive. The road will be repaved and have its lanes widened to make the area a safer driving environment.

Tech Police Chief Randal Hermes said the area receiving new pavement starts at the cross section of Alabama Street and Tech Drive and extends to the Barnett Springs Road and Tech Drive crossroad.

“Up until recently, Tech Drive has been under the maintenance of the university,” Hermes said. “However, the state has decided to repossess the street and overlay it with a new surface.”

He said the Louisiana Highway Department will be removing the concrete crosswalk signs from the middle of the street and removing the parking lanes.

“As of now, the lanes on Tech Drive are nine feet wide, but the state law [calls] for travel lanes to be 11 feet wide,” Hermes said. “By removing the parking lanes, the traveling lanes on either side of Tech Drive will become much safer.”

Hermes said he estimates that 54 parking places will be removed after the road is repaved.

“I know we have parking problems as it is, but we’re hoping that with the curb parking eliminated, cars will see the pedestrians better, and there will be less cars hit in the street,” he said.

Hermes also said Tech Drive will become much safer without the cars parking on the street.

“When anyone parks there, they must open their doors into traffic and step into the traveling lanes,” he said. “This causes potential problems for the person parking and the drivers. There’s only about three inches of space between the parked cars and the driving lane.”

In addition to the newly repaved road, Hermes said Tech Drive has also been equipped with 19 new handicapped accessible ramps.

“The crosswalks are being redone with ramps,” he said. “Also the concrete structures in the middle of the street will be removed due to their illegality. Instead the crosswalks will be repainted, and flashers and signs will be placed to the side of the road.”

Hermes said the concrete pillar is considered a distraction for drivers, and now that there will not be parking on the street, crosswalk signs will easily be seen by drivers.

Christa Fenasci, a residential assistant in Mitchell Dormitory and a sophomore marketing major, said most of her residents walk to class and therefore must cross Tech Drive.

“I think [removing the crosswalk signs] might cause issues for a little while because the drivers are used to the pillars being in the street and don’t really pay attention,” Fenasci said.

She also said she thinks it is a good idea to remove the parking from the street.

“It’s not so much about the lanes being too small, but it’s just a bad idea in general to let students parallel park in the middle of a busy street,” Fenasci said. “It’s definitely going to take away parking and increase the issues we already have, but there is plenty of parking in the Cottingham dorm parking lot.”

Drew Hoffmann, a resident of Cottingham and a sophomore political science and history major, said he does not want the street side parking removed.

“I’m kind of upset about it because I park there every day,” Hoffmann said. “However, I do park a little more on the sidewalk so my truck doesn’t get hit.”

He also said despite the removal of the parking lanes he is happy about the repaving of Tech Drive.

“I’ve always complained that the street was terrible,” Hoffmann said. “I can understand where they’re coming from and I’m glad th doing it because it’s really just about the safety of the students.”