Over the last couple of years, Duke has built a considerable fence around the
part of campus where athletic events are held. One of the main entry - and
exit points - from football and basketball games is on Wannamaker.. Gates
now sharply limit that access. We understand that the reason for that is
because parking lots were being targeted by thieves, and obviously you can't put
up with that. However, the gate on Wannamaker, while it solves one problem,
causes another. It is locked shortly after games, and for pedestrians,
like us from time to time, this causes a real problem.
After the Clemson game, we walked across the parking lots and down to the end
of Wannamaker and found the gate already locked. Fortunately, someone was
kind enough to go out of his way and give us a lift around to the other side of
the gate. When we passed, the flashing lights from a Duke security
vehicle illuminated several other pedestrians who could not get out of the gate
and who tried to catch the driver's attention. There may have been 10
If you are in a car, this is a 3-5 minute problem if traffic is at issue. If
you are a pedestrian, though, this is potentially a 20-30 minute problem, and
you have to deal with whatever weather is cursing you.
We'd like to ask whoever at Duke is in charge to please leave the gate open
longer. We were told that the gate stayed open as long as traffic was
there, but not all traffic is in cars, and even so, several cars came to the
bottom of the hill and had to turn around and go back. We don't know how the
small throng of pedestrians got out, but we do know this: the purpose of this
gate is supposedly to keep people out. But unfortunately, it is also
locking people in.
It seems to us that a reasonable solution is to leave someone at the gate for
45 minutes after the game to deny entrance but to allow exits. There are
enough barriers between Duke and the community, and this one, which is
self-inflicted, can easily be made less of an irritant to people who only want
to take the shortest route home and who are supporting the University, rather
than targeting it. At the least, it should be clear just how long the gates will be open after a game, and that way, pedestrians can decide if they should go to the game or maybe just skip it if it means running halway home.