Like many UC Irvine faculty I live in University Hills, a faculty housing complex associated with UC Irvine. It’s a great place to live: the prices are significantly lower than the surrounding area, I like my neighbors, and I love living so close to my office (ten minutes by foot) that I can walk to work instead of having to deal with the twin headaches of Southern California traffic and university parking.
Because it’s so convenient for walking, University Hills is filled with footpaths, many of which pass through greenbelts instead of running alongside the roads. The main footpath leading to the campus from the neighborhood heads towards a building designed in the shape of a giant arch, with the intent of providing a gateway into the central campus. Because the building is part of the engineering school, it’s called the Engineering Gateway. Here it is from the campus side:
It looks inviting, but you wouldn’t know from this view that it’s now a dead end. Here’s a view from the other side, from the end of the footpath that used to connect to it via a crosswalk across the ring road around campus. The crosswalk has been ripped out, replaced by a fence, and planted with ivy to discourage anyone from crossing that way.
Instead, the path has been rerouted to dump you onto the ring road, where a little farther along there’s a new replacement crosswalk. You can get into the campus by crossing there and following a service road (creatively named “Engineering Service Road”) past this lovely view:
Alternatively, you can still get to the Engineering Gateway by walking a half-block out of your way down the ring road, crossing, and then following this inviting sidewalk another half-block back the way you came:
I don’t usually take either of those two routes. Instead, I take a different path down a different service road, between two loading docks, where a narrow gap between the backs of two buildings (the University Club and the computer science department) leads into the campus. Here’s what it looks like on weekends; on weekdays, it’s often completely blocked by delivery trucks.
It’s almost as if by making these routes so awkward and ugly, the campus offices of transportation and physical and environmental planning, which pride themselves on their sustainability, are trying to send the faculty a message. But what could that message be?
(Discuss on Mastodon or more likely on the UHills mailing list)