By: Jeremy Clow
Spring semester has begun, back to the daily grind. As winter arrives the cold weather shows a reality to the site I have chosen for my thesis. Carbondale, Illinois located in the southern parts of the state receives a very diverse climate. Moderate is a modest term for intense warm fronts coming from the south and cold ones from the north. Temperature ranges in excess of forty degrees over a twenty four hour period. The traffic patterns throughout the community change drastically with these conditions. Through my thesis I intend to promote a pedestrian friendly community that provides unity among the residents and students. With cold weather the likelihood of persons being exposed to the elements dwindles drastically. The limited public transportation in the area also promotes the use of private automobiles.
The private automobiles not only use up our natural resources and pollute the environment, they also take up space. Vast parking lots, which are eye sores surround the university and create barrier from residential neighborhoods and businesses. The green space that could be connecting these attractive locations is diminished with space after space for our auto crazed world. Due to the size of the town however and average income it is understandable that private automobiles are necessary for everyday ways of life.
Walking and biking throughout the community should also be done with ease. A person who wishes to use a healthy form of transportation shouldn’t be worried about his or hers safety when crossing a street or passing through a dreary portion of town. Increased lighting among pathways to ensure safety and provided optimal visibility would prove worth and increase the likelihood of use among these paths. The infrastructure of these paths should be more diverse as well. Bike paths that end abruptly on certain streets for no apparent reason could be changed into loops linking more locations and businesses. The sidewalks are plentiful in the downtown area and on SIU campus however within a mile in any direction they disappear. Housing and business stretch far more than the sidewalks and all of these locations are disconnected by a safe means of non-vehicular transportation.
Covered bikeways and sidewalks with ample lighting provide shelter from the elements as well. Florida Southern College for example uses covered walkways connecting about eighty percent of the original campus. These coverings block the beating sun but provide passive cooling during the summer as well. Anyone who walks on campus at SIU knows there is only one building where you can guarantee to see people congregating outside every day of the week. This building is Faner, it has a covered plaza that provides shelter from precipitation as well as the sun all while allowing passive cooling techniques through its voids on the ground level. Multiple buildings surround link via sidewalks to this plaza create and ease of circulation from the educational buildings to the library and student center.