The Walk, the ongoing construction project that will link Pembroke College with Lincoln Field, took another step towards completion over winter break, when a temporary sidewalk opened allowing students to journey from Waterman Street to Meeting Street without traveling on Thayer or Brown streets.
Michael McCormick, assistant vice president of planning, design and construction, said that the next section of the Walk will be completed by May, "well before Commencement."
Completion, he said, includes a concrete walkway, plantings, open green spaces and trees that will eventually characterize the entire Walk. Stoplights and crosswalks for Angell and Waterman streets will also be ready by May.
Students leaving Pembroke for the Main Green or the Sharpe Refectory have been using a finished portion of the Walk that was integrated into the construction of the Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences. Until now, students could cross Olive Street going south and pass over the land where Peter Green House sat until this summer. But when they got to Angell Street they were met with an ominous construction site and a gate covered in "Building Brown" banners. Students then had to either head up the hill to Brown Street or down the hill to Thayer Street.
Those gates have since opened and a temporary black asphalt sidewalk now invites pedestrians to walk straight through to Waterman Street and across to Lincoln Field. On the south side of Waterman Street, the path narrows considerably as walkers squeeze between a greenhouse and Arnold Laboratory.
The overall master plan for the Walk includes an extension onto Lincoln Field. The greenhouse appears to be in the way of that extension, but the University has no current plans to move or demolish it. "At this point, we're not moving forward with that," McCormick said.
Pembroke residents said they are pleased with the project's latest development. Napong Rugkhapan '08 lives on Pembroke's campus and said the new path shortens the trek across campus considerably. One goal of the Walk is to give Brown's two campuses a unified feeling; Rugkhapan said he "definitely feels more integrated to the larger campus."
The new sidewalk is flanked on both sides by dirt-ridden construction areas, and Rugkhapan said he looks forward to a day when "it wouldn't be so bare."
After the current section is complete, the project will direct its focus to Pembroke's front green. Crossing Meeting Street northbound, the landscape will be altered to redirect walkers towards Pembroke's campus. That portion of Walk construction will take place over the summer and be ready for next fall, McCormick said.
For now, students are happy with the progress. Diane Mokoro '11 has a class on Pembroke's campus and enjoys the convenience of easily crossing. "It's much easier than going up the really steep hill or down to crowded Thayer Street," she said.
During the fall semester, Mokoro found an alley that allowed her to follow the basic path of the Walk but was disappointed when it was closed off for construction. "Now I don't need it," she said.
Cara Mazzucco '10, who lived on the north side of campus last year, agreed. "It would have been really nice if the path were open last year," she said. "There was no direct path to the other side of campus. I'm sure everyone will use it."