RALEIGH — N.C. State University has postponed its plan to restrict automobile traffic on Dan Allen Drive, with the new access gates now expected to begin operation when the spring semester starts on Jan. 7.
The gates, to be installed in December beneath a railroad overpass on the busy campus road, will be closed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays when university classes are in session. Through traffic will not be impeded at other times.
The gates will open automatically for campus transit buses, service vehicles and emergency responders. But other drivers will no longer be able to travel the length of Dan Allen between Hillsborough Street and Western Boulevard when class is in session.
University officials had planned to have the gates working by late October.
“We’re moving along with that more slowly than we had anticipated,” said Tom Kendig, the NCSU transportation director. “We have been talking this over with the city [of Raleigh] folks, doing some ‘before’ traffic counts so we can assess what the impacts actually are after we put it in place.”
Traffic congestion is blamed for frequent delays in Wolfline campus buses that make heavy use of Dan Allen Drive. By limiting through traffic on the half-mile road, Kendig hopes to get the buses running on time.
The other reason for the access gates is to make Dan Allen Drive safer for growing throngs of pedestrians and cyclists. The opening this summer of the Valentine Commons high-rise student apartments, just west of Dan Allen, added 900 pairs of feet pounding the crosswalks every day.
Campus service vehicles and buses will be equipped with radio-frequency identification chips, which signal the gates to open as the vehicles approach, Kendig said. The gates also will open for the siren of an approaching emergency vehicle.