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Ohio University campus and City of Athens officials will closely monitor the effects of Bobcat Lane on local traffic patterns and public safety once it opens.

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City-University collaboration enables Bobcat Lane trial run

Lane opening will enable public transit and passenger vehicles to access Baker University Center from Richland Avenue

City of Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl and Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis today announced plans for the temporary opening of Bobcat Lane, which will connect Baker University Center directly to Richland Avenue. According to City and University officials, the opening of Bobcat Lane will enable a new drop off/pick up site for public transit vehicles while improving access for campus visitors and emergency response services.

The agreement to open Bobcat Lane stems from a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) forged between the City of Athens and Ohio University in 2012. Ongoing conversations, coupled with recent studies of public transit and visitor parking, further prioritized the initiative. Mayor Wiehl also attributed the decision to open Bobcat Lane to the ongoing success of the GoBus intercity program.

"We are a victim of our own success, and the current configuration on campus does not adequately support the mission of inter-city transit," Mayor Wiehl said, "By relocating the drop-off/pick-up location we hope that it will address both safety and health issues for the riders."

"As Ohio University grows its transit system in partnership with the City and welcomes more visitors to campus, providing a safer option for accessing visitor parking areas, the GoBus and other public transit options is a shared priority," said President McDavis. "We have confidence that the opening of Bobcat Lane will serve to accomplish these goals – improving campus traffic flow, expanding regional mass transit services, and advancing the safety of our pedestrians."

Under the terms of agreement, public transit and passenger vehicles will be permitted to access Baker Center lots via Bobcat Lane for six months. During this timeframe, campus and city officials will closely monitor the effects of Bobcat Lane on local traffic patterns and public safety. Access between Richland Avenue and Bobcat Lane will be limited to right-turning traffic. Commercial trucks, including delivery vehicles, will be prohibited from accessing the thoroughfare.

"We are deeply committed to the success of this experiment and sincerely appreciate the collaboration that has made this project possible on behalf of our community," President McDavis added.