Dangerous crosswalk demands discussion

Rambler Staff Editorial

The events of last Friday have, once again, shown that our beloved crosswalk at Transylvania is not only an inconvenience for pedestrians and drivers but a dangerous staple of our institution. We say “again” due to the fact this is not a first occurrence and, in fact, seems to be a recurring pattern.

In response to The Rambler’s Web exclusive about the most recent issue, we received an email from alumna Nicki Adcock Williams, professor of law at Georgia State University.

“A truck hit me my junior year at Transy back in the spring of 1997. I was in the same crosswalk,” Williams said.

The Web story also points readers to another, very similar story detailing an incident where alumna Jessica Short was hit while crossing the crosswalk in the fall of 2008.

“One lane looked like it had stopped and to me it looked like the other lane was going to stop,” Short explained to The Rambler at the time.“So I started to cross, and as I was doing so I realized, hey, they’re not going to stop.”

Time and time again, it’s been proven that the flashing caution lights and the big yellow pedestrian crossing signs just aren’t enough. There is a problem, and it is not being addressed.

We all saw it on the first day on campus: Some drivers just won’t stop. We could make fierce eye contact, we could have been standing on the curb for five minutes, we could even step out into traffic, and it’s inevitable that, despite the simple fact that pedestrians have the right of way at a crosswalk, drivers fail to hit their brakes.

But there’s a two-way street to this issue. Students ought to be just as vigilant in crossing Broadway as the drivers who are driving through this dangerous zone. So many times we see students blindly stepping into the street, talking on their phones (or worse, texting), not paying a bit of attention to the street they are crossing.

In no way are we saying that any of the students who have gotten struck by automobiles at the crosswalk are at fault. In fact, due to the administration’s tight lips on issues such as this, we really don’t know any details of these incidents.

What we are saying is that it is also our responsibility as students to be aware of our surroundings. A basic rule of living in an urban area is to be aware of what’s going on around you, and this rule should be followed at all times. As we’ve seen, just because a car is supposed to stop does not mean that it will.

A comment on Kentucky Sports Radio’s website from an entry posted near the time of the University of Kentucky vs. Transy game states, “The Transy crosswalk on North Broadway has completely soured me on the institution. Slowest students west of the Alleghenies.”

Clearly, the local community sees a problem with the way that students use the crosswalk.

One look at comments posted to a story about the event on LEX 18’s website only further confirms this.

So what can be done? We’ve all noticed the Department of Public Safety officers out directing traffic when our campus hosts huge events — especially when parents or prospective students are involved. We should consider that model as a potential permanent fixture on our campus.

Or what about building a bridge for students to cross over? Such a unique architectural fixture would have the added benefit of being an interesting point for admissions to show to prospective students.

And even though this last suggestion would be a significant inconvenience for our tiny campus, what if the crosswalk was taken out and we simply had to walk down the street to the Broadway intersections at Third or Fourth Street?

The fact is there are many ideas that should be discussed and implemented. Yes, we understand it is a state road maintained by the city that Transy has no control over. It is this editorial board’s opinion, though, that if the university made it a priority, something could be done in a timely manner.

With cases of accidents documented as far back as 1997, the time isn’t now, it was yesterday. Friday’s event should have never happened and is only a symptom of poor campus planning.

Our student body’s safety should be the No. 1 priority of the institution.

The only way to solve this problem is to insist on the cooperation of the university, the city and the state. Lexington drivers deserve a commute that’s as free of inconveniences as possible, and Transy students deserve a safe walk to class.

Also, to Nurse Laina Smith – you rock.

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