Hillside Road on the UConn Storrs campus will be closed to vehicular traffic between Glenbrook Road and Jim Calhoun Way starting on Friday, August 12, and lasting through the Fall 2022 semester.
The closing is a pilot effort to enhance safety and help to make the area friendlier to walkers and bicyclists in the foot-traffic-heavy center of campus. The impact of the preliminary closing will be evaluated following the fall semester.
“We had this plan prior to COVID and, as we go back to a full campus, this is an opportunity to really make a change that is positive for the safety of our students,” says Associate Vice President of Facilities Operations Mike Jednak.
HuskyGo buses will continue to use the stretch of Hillside Road, and there will be no changes to bus routes and schedules. Emergency and service vehicles will also continue to use the road. The parking lot in front of the Hugh S. Greer Field House will continue to be available to Area 1 permit holders and accessible parking permit holders.
The affected section of Hillside Road will be open to pedestrians and all active transportation modes, including bicycles, skateboards, motorized skateboards, and motor scooters. The road will be blocked by temporary barriers for the fall semester.
“Limiting traffic on Hillside Road to pedestrians, bicycles and other two-wheeled modes of transportation is consistent with the development guidelines in the 2015 Campus Master Plan. We are very glad to see this come to fruition,” says University Architect and Associate Vice President of Planning, Design and Construction Laura Cruickshank.
Jednak co-chairs the UConn Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Committee along with Associate Vice President for University Safety Hans Rhynhart.
“The intersection of Hillside Road and Calhoun Way has always been a concern for us,” says Rhynhart. “We are really trying to reduce pedestrian-vehicle interactions – the amount of times a vehicle is trying to go somewhere and a pedestrian is looking to cross in its way.
“We have always had in the backs of our minds how to make Hillside Road more pedestrian friendly and make it more a plaza type of area.”
Motorists who park in the South Garage and come from the north end of campus should now access the garage by taking Hillside Road to the new traffic circle and taking a right onto Alumni Drive and a left onto Jim Calhoun Way.
The move to close this section of Hillside Road is similar to when Fairfield Way was closed to traffic in the 1990s and is now considered one of the most pedestrian-friendly areas on campus and a vibrant part of student life.