Morgantown’s Comprehensive Plan: What’s in it for students?

Unknown to many residents of Morgantown, the city has a comprehensive plan that outlines the future of this great city. Although many have no idea of its existence, the plan states objectives and strategies for the next 10 years in Morgantown. Obviously, this is an important document.

The plan has to be updated (at least) every 10 years, and it just so happens that the document was finished this past June. Many of the items listed  in the plan greatly affect students, especially since they are half of the town’s population. Here’s some of the stuff you want to know:

  • There are plans to revitalize South High Street and University Avenue with mixed-use, but primarily residential buildings. As a mixed-use district, it will feature shops and restaurants on the ground floor with apartments on top, allowing students and other residents to have easy access to all of their needs. (page 44)
  • There are similar plans for Beechurst Avenue, which has already been apparent. The new (and awesome) apartment complex, Beech View Place is fully taking advantage of the mixed-use lifestyle. The ground level features a new (much needed) grocery store, CoGos, Mountaineer Hots (American-style food), a Greek gyro shop, a café, a butcher shop, a pizza place and a nail, tanning and hair salon. Again, this is a great place for students since they don’t have to drive all the way out to Kroger to go shopping. (page 45)
  • The Woodburn area will be revitalized, making it more pedestrian-friendly. This will include improved access to WVU’s campus and to downtown. The plan also states that there will be some mixed-use development, so students on and off campus can easily shop. (page 45)
  • An expansion of neighborhoods in WVU’s agricultural land, by the 705 (West Run, Suncrest Towne Centre area) is in the works. According to the plan, “Growth in this area should be accessed and supported by a new multi-modal transportation corridor connecting the University Avenue and Route 705 corridors.” (page 46)
  • The revitalization of Sunnyside has been pretty obvious. One thing the plan lists that will be great is more park and open space in the area. According to Sunnyside Up, they hope to expand the area to more than just college students, including  young professionals, university staff and families.” (page 47)
  • In general, the city hopes to increase sidewalks and street signage across Morgantown and Star City. (page 56) The city is also creating a Regional Bike Plan with a 10-year implementation plan with a connecting bike route network all across the city. (page 60)
  • The City of Morgantown’s plan outlines a plan to partner with WVU to improve traffic. This includes “developing a grade-separated pedestrian crossing at Grumbeins Island” (that area you never stop and look both ways in front of the ‘Lair), a connection from the Coliseum to the Evansdale campus (it’s about time!) and a proposed parking garage beside the Coliseum. (They also want to “lobby WVU to develop long-term storage parking for students who live on and off campus.”) (page 64)
  • According to EN 1.1 and 1.2,  the city hopes to “lobby state and federal environmental agencies to strengthen air quality standards” and to “lobby state and federal environmental agencies to enhance the monitoring and enforcement of air quality standards.” (page 70) They also want to promote green building through a Green Building Program that utilizes techniques according to the LEED standards.
  • According to the Housing and Neighborhoods section, they want to form a task force of students to address property issues, and they want to conduct a student cleanup twice a year. To ensure the streets of Morgantown are as safe as possible, they also will require adequate  street lighting. (page 77)
  • Additionally, many students will love that the city wants to develop a plan to incentivize the development of affordable student housing. (page 78)

Though you may only live in Morgantown for four years, this plan is looking toward the future, taking into account the inevitable growth of a college city such as this. With an emphasis on mixed-use zoning, walkability and alternate forms of energy, Morgantown is making this one of the best college towns for future generations (and Mountaineers) to come.

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6 thoughts on “Morgantown’s Comprehensive Plan: What’s in it for students?

  1. Hi Emily,

    I am so glad you did this post! I didn’t know anything about all of these plans! Like you mentioned, some of the changes are obvious, but I thought they were just solo projects, and not part of something a lot larger. This makes me really happy to hear! As graduation nears and the dreaded job search gets closer, I keep thinking that I would love to stay in Morgantown and continue the work I currently do. A lot of these ideas sound great, improving traffic in front of the Lair and a connection from the Coliseum to Evansdale is one that really stood out to me. I also think a parking garage next to the Coliseum is a great idea! I’m not sure where they would put it, but I guess that’s not my job to figure out. That might be a little tricky, as traffic in and around the Coliseum is already a nightmare (especially the traffic light–I’ve timed it, and like exactly 5-6 cars can get through on each green light, if they’re paying attention). I think these solutions could make Morgantown a lot better, thanks so much for the information!

  2. Emily,

    I think the best/most useful thing you did with this was taking the original document and breaking it down for the readers. I think it is important that if they want to read the entire thing, they can. If not, they can refer to your post for the most important facts. Great job.

  3. This is a great post that really breaks down a lot of information that we all care about. I think it’s great that Morgantown has all these plans to modernize and improve the campus and city. I especially think it’s great that the city plans to improve air quality and create affordable student housing. Morgantown definitely needs some updates, I just hope that when I visit as an alum in a few years this place isn’t completely unrecognizable.

  4. Good job. The way you summarized the info was easy to read and very informative! I didn’t know about all those plans. Morgantown has changed so much in the 4.5 years that I’ve been. I can’t imagine how different it will look in another 4 years. I’m so glad they have plans for a new connector to 705. That should help solve some of the traffic problems.

  5. Nice breakdown! Were you to do a future post, might I recommend visualizing some of the place/time elements of the plan to help readers get a better picture. A few lines, rectangles, pointers and text in InDesign could produce a perfectly serviceable timeline that might show readers these same details in relation to each other.

  6. One thing that concerns me is the lack of plans to expand parking and improve traffic flow and public transit. I see plans for more housing and affordable housing and parks (not arguing against these), but with these comes more cars and more people trying to get around. I think it would be great to see a significant improvement in public transportation. Not just buses either… new, fresh ideas.

    A great example of improvements creating more traffic issues would be the closing of the Evansdale Drive loop. This has significantly increased the traffic on 8th St and University Ave.

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