A campus gem hidden in plain sight has a new identity.
The main north-south walking and cycling path through Central Michigan University's Mount Pleasant campus is now Central Avenue, a tangible sign of CMU's pedestrian friendliness.
And speaking of signs, two new directional signs along the path point the way to nearby buildings. Both signposts also show off the new Central Avenue name.
It's all part of CMU's multiyear Campus Identity Plan, created in 2014 with input from more than 1,000 students, faculty, staff and community members.
Crossing the campus
Central Avenue stretches north and south more than 1.2 miles from end to end. At least 20 campus facilities line the route.
Starting at Bellows Street on the northern edge of campus, the path runs southward along the Franklin Street sidewalk to Park Library — which pedestrians can walk through or cyclists can bike around — then straight south to the new
pedestrian gateway arch at Broomfield Road.
South of Broomfield, Central Avenue passes the John G. Kulhavi Events Center, Rose Center and Ryan Hall, the Student Activity Center, and the Indoor Athletic Complex on the way to the south end of Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
Sweeney, Thorpe, Fabiano and Celani residence halls also adjoin Central Avenue.
A fitness connection
Naming the pathway and making it better known is a good thing, says CMU fitness advocate Tammy Griffin.
"Anytime we can enhance the walkability of our campus, it is a win for students, faculty, staff and visitors," said Griffin, manager of employee health and wellness with the
Central Health Improvement Program. "Walking and being outdoors is a great way to enhance well-being physically, mentally and emotionally."
With fall classes underway, thousands of sandals, sneakers, boots and bike tires will tread the path every day — to everyone's advantage, Griffin said.
"Moving for 20 minutes helps to increase the areas of the brain responsible for focus and creativity," she said, "so we continue to promote and encourage movement throughout the day."
It makes financial sense, too. Griffin said a CMU study found that every additional 1,000 steps per day per employee saved the university $450 in health care expenses over two years.
"Adding steps is good for you and helps to decrease costs," she said. "The more the better."
Campus Identity Plan improvements enhance the functionality and character of campus. This summer's projects included building the pedestrian gateway and installing more than 30 new "wayfinding" and building signs. Eight wayfinding signs will line Central Avenue once all phases are complete.