The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

‘Gate Take: How to Thwart Colgate’s Puddle Pandemonium

Graphic: McKenna Dalton

As college students, we trek across campus using the designated walking paths — rain or shine. However, due to the typical Upstate New York weather, we most commonly experience the former. One would assume the walking paths are free from obstacles and any unnecessary tribulations of travel. At a few spots on campus, their assumptions would be wrong. Over time, the walking paths have taken beatings from everything ranging from temperature changes to high-volume traffic. As a result, some paths are now uneven, allowing perfect water basins to form. After consistent rainfall, the basins create large puddles that invade the walking paths and crosswalks of Colgate University. I hope to bring immediate attention to the pavement puddle problem and repair efforts before it worsens.

The most prominent puddle locations exist in the quad outside of Drake and Curtis Halls. As a Curtis Hall resident, I notice the puddles — or, more accurately, small ponds — every day. In the current state, the puddles form a dry, narrow path between each other. The path is only wide enough for one or two people to travel, depending on the amount of recent rainfall. A group of three or more people must take turns to use the narrow pathway. Although it is a minor inconvenience, I find the puddle problem an everyday headache. I carefully navigate the wading waters for fear of drenching my feet in muddy rainwater and ruining a favorite pair of shoes or splashing onto my clothes.

Every Drake and Curtis Hall resident must face this issue daily, as it is the only pavement leading out of the quad and toward the academic buildings, dining halls, library and more. However, this problem is not restricted to the rainy season.

Because the weather in Hamilton, N.Y., is so volatile, the temperatures change from a cool 45 degrees in the afternoon to below-freezing in the evening. As you would expect, the rain or sleet that fills the uneven surface transforms the puddles into miniature ice rinks. Because of the high prevalence of puddles, it becomes a hazardous issue for campus travelers. As the ice forms even with the surrounding pavement, unaware walkers are in for a slippery surprise.

The puddles not only disrupt the primary function of the pavements as walkways but also tarnish the beauty of the quad. The large deposits of rainwater create an unsightly view for students and visitors alike. Furthermore, the puddles deepen with each rainfall, turning the quad into a perpetual water feature. This is not the impression we want to give to prospective students as they view their future residential common space. The puddles are a distraction from the beauty of the campus and need to be addressed for the sake of maintaining our aesthetic standards. 

The puddle problem stretches to the lower campus, as well. The most prominent puddles dwell on the crosswalks of Broad Street just outside Delta Upsilon. To cross the road, you can either walk through a puddle of unknown depth or play a game of real-life Frogger to hop over it. When walking on Broad Street in the dark, the massive puddles blend in with the asphalt. From personal experience, I have made an accidental plunge a time or two. A designated walking path should be clear of all obstacles, natural and unnatural — for that is its purpose.

Compared to Colgate’s exciting Third-Century Plan projects, a temporary pavement repair does not seem unreasonable. I am not even addressing the potholes in the general-use parking lot, as that is out of the scope of this article. I only draw attention to the pedestrian walkway puddles, which affect nearly everyone at Colgate and the Hamilton community. 

On a positive note, it’s worth noting that Colgate is allocating efforts toward campus renovations. With the new construction of Peter’s Glen, the project includes a renovation of the Frank Dining Hall traffic circle. The upgrades are scheduled to be completed by 2025. For the sake of future Drake and Curtis Hall residents, hopefully, this includes a repair of the pavement in the quad, as well.

Unfortunately, the plans do not include repairing the crosswalks on the lower campus. Because this issue pertains to not only Colgate students but also Hamilton residents and visitors, the puddle problem must be addressed promptly. Without proper repairs, the puddles will only continue to grow. Through relatively simple adjustments, we can prevent an eventual puddle pandemonium.

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