University Drive Reroute for Improved Safety, Traffic Flow, and a Better Connected Community
University Drive between Atherton Street and Easterly Parkway is an important conduit in our community. However, its steep inclines and relatively sharp turns create safety hazards that are a concern to residents of the area and drivers alike. I lived at the corner of Legion Lane and University Drive back in 2012 and remember watching a car driven by an elderly driver skid off of the road and narrowly miss a telephone pole as it came down the hill and around a turn. Fortunately the driver was ok, but things could have easily been a lot worse.
This stretch of University Drive also bisects the Nittany Hills East and State College South neighborhoods, creating a dangerous barrier between two quiet neighborhoods that would otherwise be well connected.
These factors got me wondering if there might be a better way to provide this important traffic route to the community while avoiding these issues.
I've attached a very rough drawing of what I believe would be a much safer route for University Drive that would go around these communities and would have the added benefit of eliminating the rush hour traffic nightmare that exists on Atherton Street between Branch Road and University Drive as drivers enter Atherton Street to transfer between University and Branch.
This idea would reroute the University Drive Extension to intersect Atherton Street at the current Branch Road intersection and would then follow the current path of Branch Road before turning uphill through the Centre Hills Country Club Property, through Lederer Park, and then onward to connect with the current University Drive at the Easterly Parkway intersection(shown in red). A new intersection providing access to Branch Road(shown in yellow) would be located within the current Centre Hills Country Club property and would also provide access to Sandpiper Drive. Some private property would need to be acquired to make this a reality, but it's not much considering the length of the road.
As for the current University Drive route(shown in green), this could be made into a more neighborhood-friendly local access road and have its Atherton Street connection moved further north along Atherton to prevent the road being used as a shortcut and to better disperse traffic along Atherton.
Clearly this a relatively far-fetched idea and would have many hurdles in order to be a made into a reality, but given the potential to save lives and to improve traffic and connectivity in our community, I believe this is an idea worth exploring.