Sunday, December 7, 2008

PATHWAYS, EDGES, BOUNDARIES: phase one: traffic and circulation

As part of the Environmental group, Meghan, Illiana, Ellie, and I, the Traffic & Circulation Group, observed and recorded the patterns of cars and people in the STAC parking lot and the environmental factors that effect those patterns.   

We each took a role in observing the lot for a week and recorded our data on copies of the plan of the parking lot.  My responsibility was to record the patterns of people walking through the lot during the day, whether its from their cars in the lot, their cars parked on Oakland Ave, Tate Street, and Highland Ave, and from their homes along Lee Street.  I noticed that most people weaved in and out of the parked cars and islands in attempts to find the quickest path.  A few people chose to walk down one side of the lot to the aisle in which their car was parked, but almost everyone stepped over/cut the corner of at least one island during their walk.  And not everyone's path lead to the STAC building just like not everyone came from cars parked in the STAC parking lot - some kept past the Gatewood, across Highland, and toward the Cury Building, down Highland to Spring Garden, or in between Graham and the Weatherspoon to get to other parts of campus.  

I also noted that when it rains, most walkers change their path to not only get to the buildings quicker, but also to avoid puddles created by the empty, shallow islands, the mud in other islands, and to avoid the risk of cars throwing water at them by staying on the sidewalk beside the building.  I also noticed from a photo that I took that the incline of the parking lot seems to be a lot more noticeable when walking on the sidewalk than when cutting across the lot - a possible reason why not many people use the sidewalk.  

The other members observed patterns of drivers during the day and during the night, and the circulation of walkers at night.  They noted things like how the cars search for a spot, where they enter and leave, that some cars only use the lot as a shortcut from Oakland to Tate, that some areas of the lot are really tight for cars to move through, which parts of the lot fill up first/last, and that people still find the quickest route at night.
Illiana and I explained all of our research during the Environmental Group's powerpoint presentation.

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