University limits traffic access on West Dickson Street

Pedestrians cross Dickson Street Monday on both sides of a newly restricted traffic area near the University of Arkansas.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

In an effort to increase pedestrian safety near the University of Arkansas campus, university officials have closed a section of West Dickson Street to unauthorized vehicles.

City officials granted a permit allowing the university to limit traffic on West Dickson Street from Harmon Avenue to Garland Avenue from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Our main concern is for pedestrian safety, mainly at the intersection of McIlroy Avenue and Dickson Street, where we have heavy traffic of all kinds and a huge number of students crossing during the class day,” said Mike Johnson, associate vice chancellor for facilities. “That intersection has always been busy but the record growth the university has experienced over the past several years has certainly made the situation worse.”

Under the permit, only emergency vehicles, Razorback transit buses, approved delivery vehicles, university service vehicles and drivers with university parking permits for adjacent lots will be allowed access to the area during the restricted period. Bicycles will be allowed, but scooters and motorcycles are prohibited.

University police will monitor compliance during the first week and advise non-compliant motorists of the new access policies with a verbal and/or written warning, said Johnson. After the first week, citations will be issued for violations.

The UA’s facilities management and parking divisions are evaluating any parking issues the closure might create, including in the area on Garland Avenue, just south of Dickson Street. A parking lot for scooters in the area will be closed and replaced with ADA disabled parking.

“At some point in the future, as the new classroom and lab building is built on West Dickson Street, we will have to consider limiting authorized traffic west of Duncan Avenue as well,” Johnson said. “For now though, it’s the end of the street west of Harmon Avenue that needs our attention for pedestrian and vehicular safety purposes.”