Illustration by Rachel Edelstein.

More than four decades after the last streets were named at UC Santa Cruz, university staff and administrators came to a consensus that naming the remaining unnamed streets would benefit those unfamiliar with the campus.

Names were finalized in June with the collaboration of assistant director of Transportation and Parking Services Susan Willats, director of TAPS Larry Pageler, interim associate vice chancellor of Physical Planning and Construction John Barnes, and fire chief Jeff Trapp. The cost of this project is $22,000 and is split between TAPS and Pageler’s office.

Willats brought attention to the issue of “way-finding” and the lack of street names three years ago. She updated the UCSC server this fall with a map featuring the new names.

“Only 30 percent of roads had names before,” Willats said. “There were a couple of instances when ambulances had trouble finding their way [on campus].”

“It wasn’t just [street names] that had to be updated. There were already problems with the map they had before this,” Willats said.

Willats reported to Google 50 different issues in the campus map’s labeling. Willats also spoke with the makers of the recent iPhone application for UCSC, since the app relies on Google for its map art.

“It was challenging to give directions to our partners without street names,” Trapp said.

The campus fire department produced an unofficial reference around six years ago, creating names like “Chancellor’s Way” for the road leading to the chancellor’s residence, and “Fitness Drive” for the Wellness Center. Now that the change is official, Trapp said he hopes the new names will quicken response time for off-campus emergencies.

He said that people associated with the campus often go by landmarks, building names and complicated directions involving stop-sign counting when giving directions.

The signs are proposed to go up by spring 2011. In the process, old street signs will keep their names, but will be replaced to be easier to read.

“I didn’t even know it was called Meyer Drive,” third-year Oakes student Allie Bender said of a road turning off Heller Drive.

Willats said a few of her goals include making large kiosks available in prominent areas, creating better temporary signs, working with the fire department to apply addresses to each building and furthering other way-finding problems. She also plans to place pedestrian path signs so they point to their destinations.

“[TAPS] drivers say they see students walk on the roads where the shuttles drive,” Willats said. “They don’t know it’s so much faster to go through these paths.”

Willats hopes these improvements will lessen confusion and make giving directions easier. Bender explained how to get from College Eight to the McHenry Library:

“Make a right on Heller. At the first stop, make a right. Go straight, through another stop sign. At the next stop, make a left, and you’ll see the Music Center at your right. Keep going, and you’ll see the digital arts building to your left. Stop at the blinking light until it tells you to go, and you’re there.”