Interactive Contextual Map of the Site

Pedestrians walk along East Campus Mall past the University Square complex and Student Services Tower, both at right, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during autumn on Oct. 11, 2013. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Pedestrians walk along East Campus Mall past the University Square complex and Student Services Tower, both at right, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during autumn on Oct. 11, 2013. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

The University Square complex, including the Student Services Tower at 333 East Campus Mall at right, is pictured in an aerial view of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus during an autumn sunset on Oct. 5, 2011. The photograph was made from a helicopter looking east. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

The University Square complex, including the Student Services Tower at 333 East Campus Mall at right, is pictured in an aerial view of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus during an autumn sunset on Oct. 5, 2011. The photograph was made from a helicopter looking east. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

East Campus Mall is a pedestrian path situated between two, one-way roads. This portion of the pathway is part of a larger pedestrian connection that runs from the Memorial Union on Lake Mendota south to the University’s basketball stadium, the Kohl Center. Pictured bottom is University Square, a unique building in that it is mixed-use under private and University ownership. Ground floor retail lines the pedestrian pathway on its eastern edge, and Vilas Communications Hall abuts its western edge.

The intended purpose of the space is to create a scenic gateway connecting dorm life to inner campus and the State Street Mall area. It is a place for socializing, but mainly used as a thoroughfare for pedestrians. Some do ride their bikes through the passage, and there is limited moped parking as well. The dominant mode of transportation is certainly walking.

Sustainability is a visible theme here. University Square has a large green roof, but it is not too visible from the ground floor. However, pea gravel and other porous pavers surface the passageway. Within the next 10 years, this space will become a plush urban forest, but for right now the trees are still very young. There are several other great features in this space including plenty of seating options, impressive viewsheds, numerous bike racks, good access to east and west protected bike facilities on University Avenue, and safe, well-marked crosswalks on either sides of the connection. The ground-floor consists of retail such as a drugstore, a women’s clothing store, a hair salon school, and cafe, and provides access for students and staff to university health services.

As I sit and observe the space, there is one glaring detail that impacts this space in a negative way:  wind. (Notice the student’s grey shirt blowing in the wind in the top picture) There is a strong, mighty wind that is ever-present in this corridor. I am not a physicist, but I’d categorize this space as a giant wind tunnel. At times, the wind is so loud that you can’t hear much else around you. Therefore, I see a lot of passerbys, but no one really stops or sits as I am here.

Overall, I note East Campus Mall as a place. It facilitates convenience for pedestrians and cyclists, but it isn’t somewhere I would hang out and do homework. It’s a place for movement; yet, it has its own identity that shines through amid the shuffling backpacks. I like the way it looks and how it functions, but I would recommend adjusting the bus stops along Johnson Street and University Avenue to match up better with the pathway in order to take advantage of those awesome crosswalks.

 

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