Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Cosmic Explorer goes for a ride and discovers progress

A few years ago, the city started building a large freeway system through town that ran right next to the campus. Named after a beloved women's basketball coach, Marsha Sharp, the freeway is massive and effectively separated the main campus from both the University Medical Center (our teaching hospital) and all of west Lubbock for any foot and bicycle traffic. Well, it cut off that part of town unless you had a death wish and tried to ride on the freeway itself.

As part of the University's Master Plan, however, a shared use path was installed to connect the campus to a satellite commuter parking lot west of the freeway. I knew about the path, but hadn't realized that they had finished it until this semester, when a student who lives west of Quaker Avenue said she's been wanting to ride her bike to campus, but didn't know how to get across the freeway. So one day at lunch, I took The Cosmic Explorer out for a look and was delighted to find that the path not only crosses the freeway:



it also continues on through the commuter lot:


and takes you through this gateway (seen from the backside):

into Greek Circle (no excuses now, Kappas!), and hence safe access to Quaker:

It even carries into the Carillon Senior Living Center campus, where I suppose you can book a room in advance if you are feeling your age from all that riding:

The landscaping is unfinished in most places, and given the university's recent deep budget cuts, that's unlikely to change soon:

And in the tradition of bike paths everywhere, it ends rather abruptly in spots:

But I am so pleased and grateful that attention has been paid to crossing the freeway safely that I'm willing to wait for the day that they can address these things.

After checking out the shared use path, The CE and I rode back onto the main campus, where we stopped for a snack break at one of my favorite benches:

And then paused to admire the tulips on Memorial Circle, beneath the statue of Will Rogers:

Thank you, Texas Tech University and The University Health Sciences Center, for stepping up and providing something that improves the safety and quality of our lives.

4 comments:

  1. Incredible. Great to see the progress and the connector to Quaker done.

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  2. How does this work to cross the freeway, I am confused?

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  3. Jordan--It's great, isn't it?

    Lisa--There is a bridge that crosses over the freeway, and previously cyclists had to share a very narrow road with fast-moving cars to use it. Now there is a shared-use path that is physically separate from the car traffic. It doesn't show up well in these photos.

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  4. Susan, thanks for the explanation - just couldn't see how the freeway got crossed. Very cool!!

    Day two of bike commuting for me. Today woke to snow, but roads and sidewalk clear so headed out.

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