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Garfield Avenue hill to close permanently to personal vehicle traffic

RELEASED: Aug. 24, 2011

Campus Hill

EAU CLAIRE — The Garfield Avenue hill connecting the upper and lower sections of campus at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will be permanently closed to personal motor vehicle traffic effective Sept. 6.

The hill, which for years has been closed to vehicular traffic from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the academic year, is being closed permanently to reduce the potential for motor vehicle accidents related to construction of the new W.R. Davies Student Center and also to improve safety for bicyclists.

The permanent closure is consistent with the recommendations of the preferred alternative of the university's Campus Master Plan, which calls for conversion of Garfield Avenue into a primarily pedestrian and bicycle mall, said Mike Rindo, UW-Eau Claire assistant chancellor for facilities.

In addition to closing the hill to personal motor vehicles, "traffic-calming devices" have been installed to reduce the speed of bicyclists, Rindo said. Those devices include signs and a breakaway gate at the bottom of the hill that will require bicyclists to slow down as they ride down the hill.

"There have been a number of bicycle accidents on the hill that have resulted in serious injuries due to excessive speed," Rindo said. "The traffic-calming devices are intended to reduce speed and injuries."

Students will be informed of the hill's closure to personal vehicles and the installation of traffic-calming devices during residence hall meetings at the beginning of the semester and through information distributed by the Dean of Students Office, according to Brian Carlisle, dean of students.

"We have worked with students, campus facilities staff, the university police, the city of Eau Claire and others to implement these changes that will improve safety for our students and others who use the hill," Carlisle said.

Signs informing the campus and community of the hill closure will be put in place prior to residence hall move-in Sept. 1-2 and again on Sept. 6, the first day of fall semester classes. The hill will remain open to maintenance and emergency vehicles.

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MR/JP/DW

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