Drivers may threaten student safety

“I feel like the drivers in this town are negligent toward pedestrians and cyclists,” said senior Mark Pettit.

by SGA Beat Writer Jessica Livingston and Student Writer Tiffany McDaniel

Students walking on and around campus may feel speeding drivers pose a safety threat.

Deputy Chief of Police Mark Parker said the university police operates under the vehicle code for the state of Alabama, in which speeding only applies to city streets and highways.

Because of this, UNA Police does not write speeding tickets on campus property.

Parker said if someone is caught speeding in the campus parking lots, that person will not receive a citation but could be sent to the Office of Student Conduct or even face reckless endangerment charges.

“One of the primary places that I have noticed some speeding is in the parking deck,” he said. “It is listed there as a 5 mph speeding area, and people make turns at the end, and then they will kind of accelerate going down through there. I have called several people out, but I have not written any citations on it.”

Parker said UNA Police will do its best to help these issues.

“I’ll post a patrol request so police vehicles can be seen in these areas, and I will discuss the issue with (Chief of Police Kevin) Gillilan and see about an enforcement campaign,” he said.

Junior Lynda Hilliker said some people run the red light at the intersection of Pine Street and Irvine Avenue or turn when they are not supposed to, and when the buses are parked on that corner, it makes the situation worse.

“Another problem I have noticed— and I’m guilty of—is not pressing the button before crossing the walk,” Hilliker said. “When I’m running late for class, and every other student probably is, too, we are more liable to not press the crosswalk button or turn the corner without double-checking for pedestrians.”

Some students have said the newly repainted crosswalk and yield to pedestrians sign on North Wood Avenue in front of Wesleyan Hall and the Appleby East and West lot often do not catch drivers’ eyes. In addition to the crosswalks, bike lanes and share-the-road-signs were also added to North Wood Avenue.

Senior Mark Pettit said walking to class is a constant battle to avoid careless drivers.

“I use the crosswalk from Appleby Apartments across Wood Avenue about 10 times a week,” Pettit said. “There have been several occurrences where I have been in the crosswalk and nearly hit by oncoming traffic.”

Pettit said there were times when he would make sure to press the button, and he would still almost be hit by a car coming through the intersection.

“I feel like the drivers in this town are negligent toward pedestrians and cyclists,” Pettit said.

Junior Payton Nicole Gilchrist said she has seen people driving fast across the crosswalks while texting.

“No one pays attention to the pedestrians,” Gilchrist said.