Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUN 2018

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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June 2018 73 The University of West Georgia (UWG), founded in 1906 as an agricultural and mechanical school, transitioned into a 2-year institution, then a 4-year college in 1957, and achieved university status in 1996. The university enrolls some 13,520 students in 6 colleges, plus the Richards College of Business. The Back Campus Drive project began as how to link a proposed landscape master plan for the Richards College of Business to the adjoining campus street. Viewing the dysfunctional street, UWG administrators agreed with the landscape architect John Anderson, ASLA, that Back Campus Drive could become something more than a street. Project History Back Campus Drive functioned as a campus street running through the academic core of the campus. An improvement project in the 1990s closed the western half of the street, creating a pedestrian only environment. The eastern portion remained open to vehicles, with assigned parking in scattered parking lots. Between class times, students would flood onto the street, creating daily conflicts with vehicles. Pedestrian safety was a major concern. The street had also deteriorated over the years, creating further hazardous conditions and storm drainage issues. The Design A team of design consultants led by Anderson Design, Inc., was hired to rethink Back Campus Drive. A large part of the debate revolved around whether to include vehicular access other than emergency and service vehicles, and whether to included parking. The decision was made to allow limited personal vehicle access and limited parking. Access is granted via card readers and gate arms. The new design has replaced the old dysfunctional street with a multipurpose pedestrian plaza that also allows limited vehicular and service/emergency access. A decorative pavement pattern combines colorful pavers and concrete banding. Since the Back Campus Drive also functions as a fire lane, the main pattern width is 20 feet, with additional 8-foot wide pedestrian-only sections providing safe movement in times of heavy vehicle use. A zone of site furnishings, street trees and landscape strips separates these pedestrian only sections. The pavement elevations provide ADA access to all building entrances. Working with the campus landscape manager, the landscape palette emphasizes native plants with four-season interest and includes a rain garden to mitigate storm water runoff. Site furnishings and decorative lighting complete the scene. Overall, the project addresses several programmatic challenges including undersized stormwater systems, ADA accessibility, vehicular/ transit/emergency access and pedestrian movement and safety. Future phases include a significant rain garden in place of a small parking lot, and monumental stairs with integral seat walls leading to a refurbished library plaza. Top, Left: The new Back Campus Drive is pedestrian-oriented, but accommodates limited vehicle access. The drive is 20' wide, with 8' wide pedestrian-only sections. The concrete pavers have the appropriate thickness to accommodate vehicles. New 'Princeton' American elms line the way. Site furnishings include acorn-style luminaires on pedestrian light poles, concrete bollards, backless benches, recycle and trash receptacles, bike racks and truncated ADA detectable warning domes. Bottom, Left: The plaza at J. Mark Miller Hall offers granite seat squares. The new trees are bald cypresses. Bottom, Right: The redesign of Back Campus Drive is based on the "woonerf," a Dutch work that translates as "living yard." In woonerf zones, motor vehicles are restricted to a "walking pace." The new drive allows emergency and service vehicles access. Access for a limited number of personal vehicles and parking spots was hotly debated, but in the end was granted. Access is granted via card readers and gate arms. Intermittent bollards guide vehicular traffic without curbing. PHOTO: JOHN ANDERSON, ASLA Back Campus Drive University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia Landscape Architecture by Anderson Design, Inc., John Anderson, ASLA Contractor: RA-LIN and Associates- Carrollton, Georgia

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