Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) campus is rapidly changing. Last year the campus underwent several construction projects, including the addition of the Will Packer Amphitheater and the demolition of Paddyfoote Housing Complex. This Fall, students were welcomed back by yet another new addition to the campus: two security gates to close off a small section of Wahnish Way.
The placement of security gates on such a busy road caused speculation amongst students and faculty. According to FAMU spokesman Andrew Skerritt, “The university is constructing a gate to control traffic on Wahnish Way to improve student safety.”
Some students, such as senior psychology and sociology major Jayla Nickeo do not see how the gate could be a solution to student safety.
“Wahnish Way is just as busy as it ever was, so for the school to put these gates here doesn’t make sense,” Nickeo said.
In comparison, some faculty and staff, such as Sheila Martin, coordinator for Transfer Academic Success and Transfer Student Services, foresee issues with them.
I feel the gates are a great addition to Wahnish way as it relates to home games and events. Mainly it is very difficult to commute in the stadium area during homecoming due to driving/walking traffic, added safety measures, and crowd control, I feel it is needed,” Martin said.
“On the other hand, if it is a daily closure and needing access to travel through the gated Wahnish Way area, I would think that would be a burden to those needing to park in the handicapped spots or unable to walk the distance around the gated area due to various reasons. An attendant would have to be there at all times, unlike on the Set. Making it a carless campus on the main two streets of the campus would not be feasible unless it’s for the reasons originally stated,” she added.
Wahnish Way is the main road on FAMU’s campus, and with so many student resources such as financial aid and student health services being relocated to the CASS Building, there has been an increase in foot traffic on the street.
Currently, the gate arms are up, allowing for normal traffic flow. Chief of Police, Terence M. Calloway says the gates will not come down permanently until 2023.
“There will be a process to lower the gates,” Calloway said. “The first phase will be lowered after 7 pm and open during the day, and the next phase will include the lowering 24/7; We will provide notice to the community 6-8 months in advance with monthly reminders of when the gates will be lowered.”
Chief Calloway says the gates have been in discussion for years and after having traffic surveys conducted it has been determined there is a substantial amount of traffic on Wahnish Way. He believes the gates will reduce the amount of traffic and help make campus safer.
Note: This story was updated on Sept. 6 to include a complete quote from Sheila Martin.