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NYU or Penn -- urban campuses that you can drive through as though
they were a continuation of the city street grid -- UCLA generally
allows only service vehicles to enter the area bounded by Circle
Drive, except for a short distance along Westwood Plaza, north and
south. The result is that this circuitous route becomes a "frontier"
between town and gown. And therein lies a perplexing problem: Nobody
wants to give up the traffic-free zone within, which provides a
pedestrian haven of rare tranquillity, but everyone agrees that
the boundary should feel welcoming and remain porous to the many
thousands who visit the campus each day.
there are the twin demons of UCLA campus life -- signage and parking.
There are currently dozens of different styles of signs dotting
the landscape; some are adequate and attractive, some are neither.
Clearly, a unified, logical system of legible signs needs to be
adopted. Perhaps meeting the requirements of the Americans with
Disabilities Act will hasten this process.
easing of the parking crunch is already evident. There are 22,000
spaces on campus, and construction crews are extending Lot 4 beneath
the athletic field to add another 700. Parking capacity is likely
to grow to 25,000 by the end of the decade.
is also better access: An electronic-card system now provides an
on-line inventory of available slots across campus, and computer-generated
maps will be available by the end of the year -- although it is
still easy to get lost as you try to find the way from the lots
to other campus locations. "Why not borrow an idea from the Paris
Metro?" suggests architect Barton Myers. "Signs in each lot would
point you to an illuminated map by the exit, where you could press
a button for the building you were seeking and be guided to it by
a line of lights."
you've got your bearings, things look very bright indeed. The campus's
master planners see as their greatest challenge making the university
more productive and pleasurable by striking a balance between individual
and communal needs, new buildings and open spaces. As landscape
architect Mark Fisher explains, "We go back and forth, precinct
by precinct, negotiating with the academic senate and the administration,
showing them how the campus can be improved."