Science Center Plaza Construction Disrupts Pathway

Science Center Plaza Construction
Tarik Adnan Moon

Students walk through the narrow passage in front of the Science Center as the construction work goes on. Harvard is transforming the plaza outside the Science Center as a part of the Common Spaces initiative.

In recent weeks, expanded construction to the Science Center Plaza has narrowed pedestrian access from the Yard to a winding walkway lined with cement barriers and colorful banners. Students say that these renovations have made it difficult to navigate transitions between classes.

Emiliano W. Valle ’16 said he suffers the effects of the Science Center Plaza construction zone’s takeover of walking space on his daily walks between Annenberg and the Yard.

“Dust often flies in my eyes and I have to cover my nose with my shirt to block out the smell,” he said.

Construction is underway to update the Cambridge Street tunnel roof and to renovate the Plaza into a more usable and sustainable common space that will include benches, tables, and new lighting.

Although several gates connect the Yard to the Plaza, construction has recently caused some gates to close for periods of time and narrowed the pedestrian walkway considerably.

Hundreds of students struggle through the narrow walkway on the way to and from class everyday, sometimes funneling through only one open gate to the Yard.

“It’s annoying not knowing which gates are open because when I’m in a rush to class, [the limited gate access] creates a lot of foot traffic,” said Valle.

Tony, a construction worker at the site who declined to give his last name, said that the gates are opening and closing because of “logistics,” but declined to provide more details.

Over the next few months, as construction progresses, public access to the plaza will increase and regular programming will return.

Students have said that further difficulties are posed by the fact that cyclists and pedestrians must share the walkway between the Science Center and the gates.

“I blame the bikers for the congestion,” said Samantha D. Martin ’16.

Others said that the cyclists are dangerous to the pedestrians in the walkway.

“I saw a woman nearly get run over by someone on a bike,” Herman K. Bhupal ’16 said.

The renovation to the Plaza will include new bike paths to enhance safety.

In the next few months public access to the plaza will increase and regular programming will steadily return as construction progresses.

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