This might sound like bad news to Loyola University Chicago students who face a longer commute to classes: Kenmore Avenue might never reopen.
But the good news is that if the university keeps Kenmore closed, there will be pedestrian walkways to shorten the stroll to campus.
“It [Kenmore] will become a south campus residential village. Like the rest of the campus there would not be cars except for emergencies. The south campus would be landscaped with grass, trees, flowers, benches, and pedestrian walkways,” said Jennifer Clark vice president of campus/community planning at Loyola.
Since 2004, Loyola University Chicago’s $500 million construction project has been a regular part of Loyola students’ daily routines. Only recently did the construction begin to affect students’ living situations with the closing of Kenmore Avenue.
The closing of Kenmore has forced students to walk through alleys in order to get to their dorms as well as put up with the constant noise of the construction.
“I can’t really study in my room during the day because of the loud noises that are constantly outside my window. Also, I end up getting woken up super early because of the loud noises and banging,” said Emily Bourdow, 20, a sophomore biology major.
In addition to the constant noise of the construction, many students wish they were given more notice as to the closing of Kenmore Avenue.
“I think the least they could have done was give us some notice that the street was going to be closed for the rest of the year because it is a big inconvenience. I had no idea what was going on until I read it in the Phoenix a week later. During midterms, many students have found that the construction has made them have to change their daily routines,” said Tessa Kuipers, 20, a sophomore psychology major.
The part that seems most difficult for students is that students have not received any accommodations or assistance from the school to help them adjust to the construction.
“I honestly think they could have left a small walking path. I think the closure of the entire street was Loyola trying to make a statement to the city so the university could close it for good in the future. Which would mean the students were not kept in the administration’s mind,” said Michael Conway, 20, a history and political science major.
Clark said the university has offered alternatives to the commute.
“There is a pedestrian path depicted on Loyola’s construction website. Additionally, we suspected that students would not take Winthrop and would instead shortcut through the alley we added additional lighting to the alleys for safety,” Clark said.
The administration at Loyola is hoping to close the North part of Kenmore Avenue permanently, Clark said.