West End Neighborhood
The re-imagination of the West End neighborhood, which currently houses Carmichael Towers, Greek Row and West Side Row, is a component of FutureVU with the goals of enhancing the neighborhood, giving it a more park-like feel, as well as creating a positive community atmosphere in the neighborhood. Consistent with the Academic Strategic Plan’s aim to enhance the undergraduate residential experience, three new residential colleges will be constructed along West End Avenue, between 23rd and 25th Avenues. The construction involved with the new residential colleges provides a unique opportunity to consider the West End neighborhood holistically. The university will have the opportunity to consider how a variety of student groups will be part of the neighborhood, including IFC, Panhellenic, NPHC, Multicultural Leadership Council, and other student groups. The end goal is to beautify, enhance and make more inclusive and accessible the West End neighborhood.
As part of the efforts to beautify, enhance and make more inclusive and accessible the West End neighborhood, Vanderbilt is considering the following ideas or precedents:
- Trees lining pathways and streets to separate pedestrians and cars;
- Electrical lines not visible (underground);
- Conversion of roads, where possible, to limited access for emergency purposes, and pedestrian and biking friendly zones;
- Creation of more open spaces for community activities and events;
- Building community and embracing diversity and inclusion through space.
Spring 2017 Student Feedback
A series of focus groups were held in March and April of 2017 as a starting point to incorporating community thoughts and ideas into the planning efforts. Focus groups discussed the following key questions:
- Picture the ideal neighborhood: What does it look like? How would you describe it?
- What would you change about the current neighborhood?
- How do we enhance and beautify the area?
- In what ways can the West End neighborhood be enhanced to promote inclusivity and become a more welcoming space for the entire VU community?
High-Level Overview of Feedback
- Strong support for the area being more inclusive, with additional houses and/or programming space for NPHC and other student groups. Space should be home to everyone.
- Enthusiastic about creating more green space, taking electrical underground, and improving the aesthetics of the area.
- While the loss of parking is a significant change, understand that the need for cars in the future won’t be as significant.
- Suggested more shuttles and ride shares to help students get around campus and into the community. Need to have options for students with internships, etc.
- Would like support for improving their houses. There is a big discrepancy in how some of the houses look vs. others.
Potential Feature Options
The West End neighborhood, when fully realized, will be an example of the value Vanderbilt places on extending learning beyond the classroom. The expansion of the College Halls model is an important pillar of the university’s Academic Strategic Plan. When complete, the design for the West End neighborhood includes College Halls, a beautification project to give the area a park like feel and a significant transformation of Greek Row within its existing footprint.
The newest College Halls would replace Carmichael Towers and, based on the current design plan, will extend into the existing Greek Row neighborhood. The university plans to work with the organizations located in the proposed footprint, Delta Kappa Epsilon and Zeta Tau Alpha, as well as with other organizations in the area wherein the university would utilize sites to build new homes and spaces. This includes Kappa Sigma, Lambda Chi Alpha and the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Design planning would also include the university building a new multipurpose space in the area that can be used by Multicultural Leadership Council groups and other student organizations. The multipurpose space is intended to make the neighborhood more inclusive as it provides the opportunity for a variety of student organizations without exclusive-use spaces, including Greek organizations, to have a place to host events in the neighborhood.
The image bellows reflects a potential campus view aiming for completion in 2023.
Potential Campus View
Transformation of the West End neighborhood is intended to be consistent with the ideals of FutureVU. The intent/plan is to beautify the area into a park like setting with tree-lined pathways and streets to separate pedestrians and cars; roads limited, where possible, to access for emergency purposes; pedestrian and biking friendly zones; and more open spaces for community activities and events.
The images below reflect potential before and after views of campus.
Before and After - 24th Avenue
Before and After - Kensington Avenue
Before and After - Alley / Green
Before and After - West Side Row
The first phase of the project, burying overhead utilities for the new College Halls, is part of the beautification effort and is planned for mid-December 2017 – after final exams. The utilities construction will impact parking and yards for Greek houses in the area, as well as the Tarpley parking lot. To accommodate the removal of the Tarpley lot, which currently serves as an “F” permit lot, additional parking will be designated for “F” permits in the 25th Avenue Garage. The university will also offer full-year parking rebates to all “F” permit holders who decide to return to campus without their cars after the Thanksgiving or winter breaks. To further assist with transportation, the university will add a Vandy Van stop at the 25th Avenue Garage during Vandy Van hours.
Long-term parking solutions for the area are being addressed through a process that involves the broader campus community. The university is developing a comprehensive transportation strategy that will address parking needs, look at a variety of enhancements to improve the accessibility of campus, and additional transportation options, such as expanded shuttle service, a transportation hub, improved biking infrastructure and Uber/Lyft drop-off points.