Campus improvements among engineering student capstone designs

If the closure of Sunset Avenue between Fanchette and Wyandotte streets results in a smoother traffic flow around campus and beautiful green spaces replacing parking lots, you may have a group of civil engineering students to thank.

Fourth-year students Jingda He, Ahmad Merheb, Zaid Najjar and Mahmoud Shahwan presented preliminary plans for redesigning the Sunset corridor during a poster display Friday in the Centre for Engineering Innovation, showing the progress of capstone design projects for seniors in civil and environmental engineering.

Among their suggestions are dedicated bike lanes running into campus, seating areas shaded by trees on the site of what is now K lot, east of the Biology Building, and a drop-off loop similar to Vanier Circle through L lot behind the Odette Building.

“Our data showed that the city should install a traffic light at the intersection of California Avenue and Wyandotte Street,” says Shahwan. “Now that the signal went live just two days ago, it provides validation that we’re on the right track!”

The group members hope to meet with the consulting firm contracted by the University to explore options for the redesigned corridor once the block is closed to vehicular traffic.

The University’s environmental advocate, professor Paul Henshaw, is encouraged by the progress a group of his students has made toward assessing UWindsor on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), a comprehensive campus sustainability rating system that enables institutions to measure their progress and learn from others.

“It is good to have data we can use to look for areas of improvement,” Dr. Henshaw says.

The students—Revisha Brar, Ashley Bujold, Unam Ejaz and Huda Oda—are still compiling data and project Windsor will land somewhere in the bronze-to-silver range of compliance.

“We can and should be doing a lot better,” Oda says. She and her teammates will spend the remaining four months of their undergraduate careers working on proposals for design solutions.

Faouzi Ghrib, head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, says the progress reports were a valuable exercise for the students.

“I am impressed with the overall quality of the posters,” he says. “Engineering is not just about calculating, it is about disseminating designs, plans and solutions.”