Ongoing Thurston construction blocks sidewalk

Some students said they feel unsafe because of the effects of a renovation project of GW’s largest freshman residence hall.

The sidewalk along 19th Street between E and F streets has been closed for months and has forced pedestrians to either walk on the road of a busy one-way street or cross the street to avoid being inches away from passing cars.

“During rush hour you really have to watch out,” said William Watt, a freshman and resident of Mitchell Hall who said that he walks in the street at least three times a day. “Cars get pretty close to side-swiping you here.”

The University posted signs directing drivers to stay out of a far left-side lane where many people walk and for pedestrians to cross to the east side of the street where the sidewalk is clear.

“The University is quite concerned about students walking next to the fence,” wrote Nancy Haaga, managing director of Campus Support Services in an e-mail. “We strongly encourage all members of the GW community to obey traffic and pedestrian directional signs to help ensure their safety and well-being.”

The University said the west side of the 19th Street sidewalk is closed as per a permit as part of construction to replace the fa?ade of Thurston Hall.

The current phase of renovation is set to be complete by month’s end and other projects will begin this summer. A University official said last month the residence hall will be closed for summer housing. Haaga did not say when the sidewalk would reopen.

Construction includes replacing windows, repairing brick and mortar, updating lighting fixtures and elevators, and installing fire sprinklers in each of the rooms, University officials said.

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