Alexander Walk and High Street landscape project complete
June 17, 2021
Wall and High Streets are now more pedestrian-friendly with a beautifully landscaped walkway. This area was closed to automobile traffic in 1990, per an agreement between Yale and the City of New Haven. For many years, no changes were made to the aesthetics. In 2013, the university purchased both lanes and began long-term plans to create a walkway similar to Rose Walk in front of Sterling Memorial Library.
The project involved removing 70% of the concrete sidewalks and replacing them with planting beds, shrubs, and trees. In addition, the pavement was removed and replaced with distinctive concrete pavers that match Rose Walk.
Other updates included the installation of new LED light fixtures, benches, and bike racks. “Building on the enduring success of Rose Walk, this project to convert High and Wall Streets extends and enhances the pedestrian experience at the heart of the campus where academics, student residential and social life, university cultural events, and significant library resources uniquely intersect. This project also provides strong visual and pathway connectivity with the two recently completed projects at the Humanities Quadrangle and Schwarzman Center, giving the entire block a sense of completion,” says Stephen Brown, Associate Director, Planning Administration.
The Wall Street section has been renamed Alexander Walk in honor of former Yale Vice President of New Haven and State Affairs and Campus Development, Bruce Alexander. This section runs between College and York Streets. Also new is a speed table that crosses over to the Humanities Quadrangle at 320 York Street. A granite and brass plaque commemorating Mr. Alexander’s service to Yale sits in front of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The official ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony will be held in September 2021.
The second half of this project included the High Street section, which runs from Wall to Grove Streets. It received the same treatment and upgrades and was completed in mid-May. Due to construction at the Schwarzman Center, which is also complete, this area was needed for staging, delivery access, and construction office trailers.
Now anyone can walk from Elm Street to Grove and College to York uninterrupted by blacktop and
traffic through this bucolic campus area. The libraries will continue to use the former Wall Street section for deliveries and emergency vehicle access.
“As you walk from Cross Campus, it feels like a continuous college campus, not a city. This landscape project brings all of the buildings and areas together. It went from an urban streetscape to a lush and tidy campus landscape,” Michael Douyard, Associate Director of Planning and Construction.
The university has not conducted an outdoor landscaping project of this type since Rose Walk was completed in 1993.