Anderson University held the opening event for the recent remodel of Fifth Street today directly in front of Reardon Auditorium. The recently completed $2 million project was designed to increase campus safety and create a pedestrian-friendly roadway for students at Anderson University. Following the opening event, Fifth Street reopened for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Speakers during the event included Dr. James Edwards, president of Anderson University; U.S. Congressman Mike Pence, 6th Congressional District of Indiana; Kris Ockomon, Mayor of the City of Anderson; Sena Landey, vice-president for Finance and Treasurer for Anderson University; and Nick Zehner, president of the AU Student Government Association.
Edwards stated the remodel of Fifth Street was a "sign of vitality for the future."
Pence congratulated faculty, staff and students at AU along with the City of Anderson for their continued partnership in paving a way for the city's future. Pence added this project was not about the physical presence of the project but one more example of AU creating a "pathway for the future."
Pence reminded students there was more to learn at AU than just the foundation of knowledge but also the foundation of faith. "Students I hope you will look at Fifth Street as a statement of this university, president and faculty's love and devotion to you," said Pence.
Zehner said from a student prospective, this project is a "testament to the energy and investment to this community." He remarked about the true value the Fifth Street project has on campus and as a gateway to greet new members to the AU community. Zehner, an Anderson native, concluded by stating the importance of this project is an example of how there are still great things to come for the future of the City of Anderson and AU.
The event concluded with a ribbon cutting and opening ride by friends of the Anderson University campus. The "Honorary Ravens" who provided cars for the ride down Fifth Street included Jim Gwaltney with a 1969 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe, Paul Malone with a 1963 Buick Skylark Converible and Bob Flanigan, driving a 1929 Model A Touring Car.
Highlights of the remodeled street, headed by the engineering firm United Consulting and E&B Paving, include a brick pedestrian safety circle at the intersection of 5th Street and Walnut directly south of Decker Hall and a brick pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of College and 5th Street. In addition, the project both widened and added a safety median along Fifth Street. The final project also features new street lighting and landscaped areas between the new curb line and the sidewalks to create a buffer area between motorists and pedestrians.
The final design of the road is similar to University Boulevard. The length of the project extends from College Avenue to Executive Drive (just east of the Krannert Fine Arts Center). The pedestrian safety median extends from College Avenue to Chestnut. The Fifth Street project was funded through the Transportation Equity Act, which was signed into law in August 2005. Anderson University coordinated the design and construction.
Over time, Anderson University has noted significant safety concerns along Fifth Street, College Drive and Nursery Road. These concerns relate to the large number of pedestrians that cross these streets. For example, Fifth Street and College Avenue are both two lane roads with parking on both sides and concrete sidewalks located adjacent to the curbs. The level of traffic, lack of pedestrian traffic signals, blocked visibility due to on-street parked cars, the proximity of sidewalks to the street and less than optimal lighting considerations have all been indicated as contributors to the safety concerns.
In 1994, the City of Anderson and the university partnered to widen and add a median to University Boulevard. The University Boulevard project added a pedestrian stop on the median, landscaping and scored concrete.
To view photos from the Fifth Street construction and dedication, click here.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.