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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Columns

Sidewalk overhaul in Lynn Eusan helps students


The updated sidewalk, which crosses in front of the Cougar Grounds coffee shop inside the UH Hilton, is a valuable improvement to the campus. | Justin Cross/The Cougar

Over the winter break, the sidewalk that curves around the bike racks between Cougar Village I and Moody Towers was redone in cement and made wider than the original. Pebble and cement slabs comprised the old sidewalk that, with the help of time, had become very uneven.

These changes could not be more welcome to the park.

Not only do the pebble sidewalks reveal their age throughout campus, they handle regular abuse that they were not designed for. 

The most recent example of this: When a large truck drove over a sidewalk for the Student Program Board’s Winter Wonderland, the sidewalk was not wide enough. The truck backed down the sidewalk in reverse in a zigzag motion because the driver over-corrected while trying to keep the wheels on the path. The tires went off the sidewalk, tearing up the grass on both sides and turning muddy sections into large ruts.

Now, students and campus vehicles can maneuver around each other because the sidewalk reaches several feet wider than its predecessor. Those awkward moments of having to choose between shuffling off the sidewalk so a utility cart can pass or forcing the vehicle to follow closely behind you will now occur on one fewer sidewalk.

Even though the vehicles and equipment used in constructing the sidewalk tore up the area around it, the grass will grow back over the soil eventually. It is a small, short-term price to pay for the sidewalk project.

Another benefit: Students can skate on the new sidewalk more easily and smoothly. They will no longer rattle their way to class on uneven surfaces looking like a scene from the Minions movie.

And cyclists will no longer look like this on the most unkempt sidewalks.

Hopefully, the University will continue to improve the sidewalks — not only for the sake of practicality (many of the pebble slabs have become old and cracked), but also because they do not properly drain in the rain, creating massive puddles for students to walk through. The most notable no-drainage areas are in Butler Plaza near the power plant and the downhill walkways in front of the Satellite’s entrance.

As trivial as it may sound, students at CV1 and Moody should be excited about this new sidewalk near their residence halls, and UH should continue to prioritize the sidewalks to help maintain consistency and visual appeal for both current students and future ones.

Opinion editor Thomas Dwyer is a broadcast journalism sophomore and can be reached at [email protected]

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