Aguirre details plans for transportation, signs

The University is planning several improvements to campus facilities, according to Eduardo Aguirre Jr., former chairman of the Board of Regents.

Aguirre, who spoke to an Advanced Newswriting class Tuesday about improvements on campus, ended his term as chairman Sept. 1. He was replaced by former board Vice Chairman Charles E. McMahen.

"We did a survey and found that students are very satisfied with the education they receive here, but do not consider UH a user-friendly environment," Aguirre said.

To counter this, the board has approved an update to a new campus master plan.

Plans call for major improvements to transportation and signage around campus. Under consideration for traffic control are proposals to relocate the stretch of Cullen that runs from the northern edge of campus to MacGregor, eliminating through traffic and freeing space for more student housing.

"We also need to get the city to re-pave a piece of Cullen," said Ronald Shoup, director of Campus Planning and Real Estate.

There are also plans to improve Wheeler Street, although they may not be acted upon for another five years.

"We are beginning the process to work with the city with plans to extend Wheeler all the way to Scott and also to rebuild Wheeler," Shoup said.

The University plans to connect Calhoun to Entrance 16 by the first of the year. It will be re-named "University Street" and will provide more parking space.

The University also intends to rename many streets after financial contributors, an idea that is backed by Mayor Lee Brown and the Houston City Council.

Parking improvement proposals include additional lots near the future State Highway 35 and in areas made available by street rerouting. A parking garage, to be located near Hofheinz Pavilion, is also being discussed but may cost five or six times more per space than lots on the ground.

The University can either provide lots of extra outlying parking at a cheap price or lots of parking close to campus at a higher price, Aguirre said.

Plans to improve the quality and continuity of campus signs are being discussed. Phase one of the proposal began more than two years ago at the suggestion of the Campus Graphics Committee. Minor entrances will be marked with white-on-black metal signs, similar to those already in existence. Some of the new ones, however, will feature a red, illuminated upper portion identifying the University.

Street signs will be replaced with a new white-on-black design and will feature a small red-and-white UH logo.

These improvements are scheduled to be completed by the start of 1999. The project will be funded by $150,000 donated by the Cullen Foundation and money allocated by the UH budget.

Phase two of the signage plan is improvement to building identification signs. While there is no funding at this time to replace building signage, designs exist for these improvements.

Some buildings will feature 2-foot, square, white-on-black signs at side entrances, and there are general plans to use different types of lettering at major entrances - such as Roman typefaces on older buildings, modern typefaces on newer ones and possibly more stone etchings similar to those on the Ezekiel Cullen Building.

"It is uncertain when this will be completed, but it will be funded, and when it is, the building graphics will come first," Shoup said.

Other campus signs that will be added include Braille accessible signs, improved campus maps and kiosk-style directories.

Design proposals are also being discussed for the new major entrance to campus that will be created by the construction of Highway 35.

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