Why the New White Plaza Sucks

Posted by at 5:52PM

whiteplaza.jpg
The Stanford Daily
One of the Daily’s lead stories today was on the “mixed reactions” (read: NEGATIVE reactions) to the new White Plaza. (On a side note, the new Daily website is very nice, you all should go check out the cleaned up look).
The story mentions a lot of the reasons (and there are many) but it got me thinking so let me give my 5 reasons:
(1) It screws up traffic of all kinds in that area: Why can bike traffic only go in front of the Bookstore now? If I’m going from the clock tower towards the Row and I actually decide to follow the traffic circle just “below” the Claw Fountain, it would make logical sense for me to continue up on that side of the Claw, past Old Union. No can do. So then they encourage people just to make a left up the roundabout because we have to go past the Bookstore.
(2) A corollary to number one, it makes the area less safe to bike/walk/skate/run through: Those big brown blocks (see number three below for more on them) are placed everywhere, and seemingly with no reason or logic. With the closure to bikes on the Old Union side of the Claw, it’s pretty simple to see that with the same space in front of the Bookstore (the Claw hasn’t moved) and the same number of bikes, it will be more heavily congested right on that little 12-foot wide patch. Another thing, something they certainly didn’t consider was about the sidewalks being raised. It sounds good so that there are delineated places for pedestrians to walk, but the problem is, many many people bike through the area near Tresidder and alongside Old Union and when there are new ledges and 4-inch drops everywhere, it can cause trouble.
(3) It’s really ugly: With the exception of that new raised platform beside Dinkelspiel, the entire thing just looks worse, from landscaping to those aforementioned big brown blocks everywhere.
(4) It seems to discourage student assembly: Before, White Plaza was an actual plaza: a place where students could rally. We could stand shoulder to shoulder, filling the entire area of the space, to demonstrate a policy or to get excited about an athletic event. Now, the new setup discourages traffic through the area and makes organized assembly more difficult. Let’s just say that it’ll be really interesting to see the Student Activities Fair tomorrow. White Plaza has looked really cramped this week already with a few booths out, but wait until all the various VSOs have a table and all the freshmen head out there in the afternoon…
(5) It’s just illogical: Pathways start and stop. I can be walking alone one of those cobblestone part-gutter-part-ankle-twister things and then, inexplicably, end up standing in front of a tree. I’m not kidding: try it as you walk from the Post Office steps towards Tresidder.
Is it just me or does White Plaza honestly suck a lot more now? Let me know what you think in the comments…

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