Bailey Plaza Design and Plan
When completed, Bailey Plaza will provide an aesthetic forecourt to Bailey Hall, a fitting complement to the historic auditorium opened in 1913. The plaza, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, will improve the quality and organization of the area and will serve as a public gathering space for the University.
The landscaped site will support pedestrian use and tie the plaza area to the surrounding campus. Construction is planned to start in the spring of 2007 replacing the current parking area with a patterned blue stone surface for pedestrians. Circulation around Bailey Hall will remain similar to or somewhat improved from the current configuration.
Bailey Hall is important in the academic and cultural life of Cornell and its forecourt is significant to the University as a whole. The auditorium, which was built by the State of New York, will re-open in the fall of 2006 after renovation supported by the State, a private donor, and the University. Although the plaza project will not be completed for the re-opening of Bailey Hall, having a plaza compatible with Bailey Hall’s place on the Cornell campus and its role in the larger community is especially timely. While the plaza area has been the object of numerous design studies in the Department of Landscape Architecture for over twenty five years and more formal studies that have been commissioned, the site became increasingly deteriorated. Over the years the area has become more congested with conflicting vehicular and high pedestrian traffic linking many parts of the campus. Considering all these factors, the Provost’s office, the sponsor of the Bailey Plaza project, formed a committee in 2004 to develop a plan for the area.
Over the years, many plans have been made to landscape the site, by eminent landscape architects as well as students. The landscape architecture firm of Michael VanValkenburg Associates was chosen from several firms to complete the design.
The design was approved by Cornell’s Capital Funding and Priorities Committee and the Building and Properties Committee of the Cornell Board of Trustees during Winter 2005/06.The project is scheduled to begin construction in the spring of 2007 and to be complete by the beginning of the 2007 fall semester. The University’s commitment is such that funding is being advanced for the project while the interest of identified potential donors is being determined. Visit the Planning, Design and Construction site for more on the current project status.
Ongoing Transportation Planning
Concurrent with plans for Bailey Plaza are two major planning processes, transportation-focused Generic Environmental Impact Statement (t-GEIS), and the Comprehensive Master Plan for Cornell. The t-GEIS looks at the transportation-related impacts of CU's population growth on the surrounding community over the next decade. The Master Plan will guide the long-term physical development of the Ithaca campus in concert with the University’s academic goals over the next 10 to 25 years. The focus of the t-GEIS is transportation systems beyond the campus and in the greater Ithaca area. The Master Plan will comprehensively look at land use, landscape, transportation and service infrastructure systems on the Cornell campus within the context of academic planning for the future.
While the Master Plan will generally study the big picture, long term physical development for the entire campus and its systems, it is expected to study in greater detail future redevelopment opportunities for some areas of campus, one of which is Precinct 2 in which Bailey Plaza is located. The density and concentration of many uses make aspects of service and movement of both people and vehicles challenging in this precinct, in the areas both north and south of Bailey Hall. While the immediate and short term operational issues for this area will be addressed by an ongoing perimeter circulation study, the larger and longer term challenges for service and circulation need to be studied and addressed in the context of the master plan and the future redevelopment of the precinct.
The t-GEIS will identify, examine and evaluate transportation-related impacts of hypothetical Cornell University population growth scenarios over the next decade on transportation systems and neighborhoods, and identify potential mitigation strategies for those impacts. It will identify ways of getting people, not vehicles, to campus. The desired outcome will be strategies that promote a "Best in Class" transportation system with greater participation in walking, bicycling, transit use, park-and-rides, and other alternatives to single-occupant commuting.