SGA works for pedestrian safety

Two students cross a campus roadway on their way to class. Students cross major intersections and roadways everyday on their way to and from campus.

The SGA and campus police are currently discussing options for improving pedestrian safety on Pine Street. A few incidents and numerous close calls involving motorists and students crossing the four-lane street have prompted SGA representatives to look into ways to increase the safety of the students.

During the summer retreat for SGA, the issue of pedestrian safety on campus was included in their main goals for the semester. Complaints and concerns about students almost getting hit while crossing Pine Street are consistently directed to SGA members.

Tyrie Fletcher, the SGA Senate member heading up pedestrian safety on campus, is working with City Council member Barry Morris as well as the City Engineer. Fletcher said they are currently looking into gathering data about speeds and peak hours of traffic along the route by using radar-equipped speed limit signs.

“I do intend on going to the city council about this,” Fletcher said.

“We don’t condone jaywalking, but we’re just trying to keep students safe,” said SGA President Ralph Akalonu.

Akalonu acknowledges that with college students especially, not everyone is going to use the crosswalks every time they cross the street.

“Our goal is to keep students safe,” he said.

Over on Wood Avenue, the SGA, in conjunction with campus police, was successful in installing a crosswalk and yield sign where students often crossed near the Forensic Sciences building.

UNA police Chief Bob Pastula said Pine Street is just different because there are already two stop lights and crosswalks in place.

“We’re not encouraging students to cross illegally; our job is to increase safety for them,” said SGA Vice President Emily McCann.

McCann said students are also not supposed to be parking in the parking lot of Kilby School.

City police have already visited Pine Street in the recent past, giving out tickets for jaywalking. Pastula said they will probably return. Both campus and city police run radar in the area to deter speeding, but Fletcher would like to see the speed limit further reduced from 25 to 15 mph.

Pastula has some other ideas for the increase in student safety around campus.

“Instead of parking in the Kilby parking lot or parking on Pine Street, students should focus on using the off-site parking and taking the shuttles to campus,” he said. “People get in a rush, and they want to do things the easy way and not always the best way.”