An engineering professor at Penn has weighed in on the Locust Walk Wind Tunnel. The pathway along the university’s campus gets positively hurricane-like after the 38th Street bridge, claiming lives of umbrellas and loose-fitting hats. And it’s not just windy — it’s cold.
Howard Hu tells the Daily Pennsylvanian: “The air, like water, needs to have a channel to flow through … so you need to have tall buildings lined up to experience strong flow.”
In this case, the tall buildings are three high-rise dorms that are perfectly aligned with the easterly wind — an architectural misstep, Hu says. “Usually, for tall buildings, the architect will evaluate what kind of winds the building will experience.”
Though the Locust Walk Wind Tunnel (which merits caps, I think) was cited as a “fun fact” in a book about Penn, students take the situation quite seriously. Says sophomore Jake Lechnir: “It’s honestly a deterrent from wanting to live in the high rises.”
DP commenter RIPCheapUmbrellas confirms the gravity of the situation: “I can attest that the wind tunnel has claimed the lives of at least 5 umbrellas my freshman year when I lived in Harnwell.” RIP, indeed.