The Charles Street construction that was completed in 2015 will resume work in May, Chuck Rhodes, the chief civil engineer on the project, announced Wednesday.
The construction will add more art sculptures, benches and trees along the length of the road from 31st Street to University Parkway. To accommodate the new structures, the segment of N. Charles will be converted to a one-way.
“We have identified a dire error in making the street two ways, and we need to revert it to its former glory,” Rhodes said, standing on a soap box at the center of N. Charles and 34th Streets with a megaphone. “With the extra space, we will be able to increase the aesthetic appeal of this prime roadway.”
N. Charles Street, first laid out in 1730, was previously one-way northbound, with St. Paul Street traffic going south, but both became two-way streets in the past 15 years. A $28 million N. Charles reconstruction project began in the spring of 2012 and supposedly concluded its major phases last fall, with only landscaping left to finish.
Rhodes said that the University is well-aware of the blowback it may receive from students who live near the construction.
“It means a bit more loud noise to tolerate, but Hopkins students are tough little nerds — they can take it. They’ve done it three times; They can do it again,” he said. “I swear that when you see those benches, it will all be worth it.”
Rhodes declined to comment on the proposed duration of the new phase of construction.
Many students are worried about how the construction will affect their daily lives. However, senior Charlotte Driver, captain of the Hopkins quidditch team, is most excited about the prospect of new modern art pieces similar to the current one located in front of Charles Commons.
“The team and I love those sculptures,” she said. “It’s great to have a physical token of appreciation for our sport located so prominently on campus, and I can’t wait to see the new art they bring in.”
Sophomore lacrosse player Carlos Waya is worried that the construction will make it difficult to ride his scooter.
“I use that scooter to get everywhere,” he said. “The only reason I even chose to live in Homewood was because I knew I could ride my scooter and cut down on travel time.”
Senior Carl Place is more concerned about the dangers of holding Spring Fair right next to an active construction zone.
“If I’m being totally honest,” he said, “I’m only sober for 15 percent of the time. If there are bulldozers and cranes and huge-ass holes in the ground, I am almost definitely going to get hurt. So like, at least hold off until the summer to wreck the street, yeah?”
Meanwhile, freshman Caroline Boulevarde is excited to get to experience a piece of the Hopkins of the past.
“I can’t wait to see what the school looked like back then with just a one-way street,” she said. “I think it’s going to be amazing to be living just down the street from a piece of history. I mean, I’ve heard legends about what it was like to be able to cross the street without checking for cars. I can’t wait to be able to do that like my ancestors!”
The new-old Charles Street project is likely to be a mixed bag, but senior Charlie Lane spoke for many of the graduating seniors when discussing the future of the Homewood Campus.
“Construction starting in May?” he said. “Why would I care about that? I’m out of here.”