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California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Memorial “Walkway” project still paused

Dean+of+the+School+of+Management+Gerhard+Apfelthaler+said+he+believes+that+the+creation+of+the+pedestrian+only+area+will+confirm+Cal+Lutherans+identity+as+a+campus+community.
Logan Bury
Dean of the School of Management Gerhard Apfelthaler said he believes that the creation of the pedestrian only area will confirm Cal Lutheran’s identity as a campus community.

The plan to turn Memorial Parkway into a pedestrian-only zone is still being pursued by California Lutheran University, yet, a timeline on the final product is still unknown.

Associate Vice President of Planning and Operations Ryan Van Ommeren said the project was first planned in the 1990s, and would see the closure of Memorial Parkway to vehicle traffic, making the crossing area outside of Ullman Commons a pedestrian-only area. This closure would look to connect to the spine to the north side of campus.ย 

Van Ommeren said Memorial Parkway is as an awkward division between the two sides of campus, and that a pedestrian-only zone would create a better connection between the north and south areas.

โ€œMemorial Parkway as a driver is not pleasant during some times of the day, and as a student or somebody who is walking in the area it is also not a great experience,โ€ Dean of the School of Management Gerhard Apfelthaler said.ย 

Junior Caelan Jack expressed his belief that the positives outweigh the negatives in creating the pedestrian-only area.

โ€œI think it would be excellent for the school, there’s not a lot of places on campus where students can kind of walk around and hang out,โ€ Jack said.ย 

Apfelthaler described a future campus master plan which hoped to create a student convergence and community center in the area of Ullman Commons. He believes that the creation of the pedestrian-only area will confirm Cal Lutheran’s identity as a campus community.ย 

โ€œThe idea is not just to close off Memorial, but actually to build a real center with new buildings,โ€ Apfelthaler said.

The main disagreement to this project, Van Ommeren said, would be the loss of 42 commuter and staff parking spaces along Memorial Parkway. Van Ommeren believes the school will absorb the loss of these spaces without issue, due to Cal Lutheran’s multiple large parking areas.ย 

Jack said he believes that there are plenty of other parking opportunities on campus for both commuters and residents.ย 

Apfelthaler also said he agreed that the loss of these 42 parking spaces does not outweigh the benefits of the project.ย 

โ€œThe reality is there is enough at the north campus, so people would just have to have the willingness to park over there,โ€ Apfelthaler said.ย 

Van Ommeren said while this is still a project of interest for Cal Lutheran, it is not directly being pursued at this time. He said Cal Lutheran does not own Memorial Parkway, which complicates the process further.ย 

โ€œThe issue is it’s a very very complicated project, there are a couple levels to it. It’s very complicated because the streets themselves technically do not belong to CLU, although the city lets us treat them like they belong to CLU,โ€ Van Ommeren said.ย 

Van Ommeren said progress began when the project was originally planned, yet halted due to the retirements of certain city employees. Van Ommeren said the idea regained interest within the last few years through the campus planning process.

โ€œAt some point in order for everything to happen, the ownership will have to transfer to us. Itโ€™s a time-consuming and complicated process, so we have not embarked on that,โ€™’ Van Ommeren said.ย 

Van Ommeren additionally said that Cal Lutheranโ€™s project team is currently focusing on other projects, pausing any future progress of turning Memorial Parkway into a pedestrian-only zone.

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