“The changes that we’ve put in place dramatically enhance the entire look and feel of the campus,” said Gordon Earle, associate dean for public affairs and communications for the college.
Einstein planned and administered the project, with the Department of Transportation’s approval.
Two major features that affect both the hospital and community is new angled parking in front of the Price Center, which will officially open in the community this week, as well as a fence on the street median that discourages pedestrian crossing, except at a new traffic light midway between Eastchester Road and Newport Avenue.
Regarding the safety concern of jaywalking, Community Board 11 district manager John Fratta said, “This is something we pushed with Einstein.
People were crossing all over the place, creating a really dangerous situation on our streets.”
Einstein officials agree the project was a success.
“The alterations we’ve made to Morris Park Avenue improve safety, both for drivers and pedestrians,” Earle said. “They also improve the appearance of the campus within the local community, while providing a sense of continuity across Morris Park Avenue.”
According to school representatives, the infrastructural improvement are providing a strong sense of integration to the AECOM campus, which has residential facilities on one side of Morris Park Avenue and most classrooms and lab facilities on the other side.
Though briefly installed, Earle further explained the updates are getting rave reviews.
“Although the changes were only put in place last week, we have received a lot of positive initial feedback,” he said. “Both students and faculty have indicated that they like how the changes have opened up the campus.”
As far as the input of the Morris Park community, school representatives confirmed they were helpful in the process.
“At our quarterly Einstein Community Advisory Council meetings we routinely updated council members about the project and solicited their comments, which were considered during the design process,” said Cecilia DeBrino Haas, a member of CB 11 and assistant director of facilities planning for AECOM. “Overall, receptiveness and input from community was positive and helpful.”
Fratta feels the light and pedestrian obstruction promotes safety, disagreeing with only a handful of community members who don’t like the new streetscape.
“Some say it [the angle parking] is dangerous, and I don’t see that,” Fratta said. “It’s very orderly, and it increases parking, which is desperately needed.”
He said he hopes the plan will be a model for the rest of the surrounding community.
“Its our hope now to get angle parking all throughout Morris Park,” Fratta explained.
“We wanted to get this piece done and show that it’s successful.”
©2008 Community News Group