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Campus safety committee looks at improving lighting, crossings

By : Cait Anastis


Carmine Tronolone, a computer science major, attempts to navigate a steep pathway on campus as members of the Campus Personal Safety Committee watch. The pathway was one area of concern the committee looked at on April 14.
Slippery slopes, dark corners and broken tiles were all part of the University’s Personal Safety Advisory Committee’s campus-by-night tour on April 14. A key concern for committee members this year was improvement of pedestrian safety.

Each semester, the committee puts out a request to the campus community, asking for suggested problem areas in need of attention, said Anthony Preus, professor of philosophy and chair of the committee. This year, the committee saw a significant increase in responses to the request. One reason for the increased interest was a December accident in which Siddhartha Mitra, an assistant professor of geological sciences and environmental studies, was struck and seriously injured by a vehicle while crossing a street on the west side of campus by Academic A and B.

In addition to the crossings near the academic complex, committee members raised concerns about crossings near the Physical Facilities plant, the Library and Hinman College. The area between Hinman and the Lecture Hall, which is heavily traveled, also becomes more difficult to navigate at night.

“This is one of those places where you are blinded by oncoming headlights,” said Colleen Hailey, an associate librarian serving on the committee. Changing conditions on campus mean that improvements are continually needed, said Preus. The committee is now working on a draft of its recommendations for improvements, which will be submitted to Anthony Ferrara, vice president for administration.

One recommendation the committee is considering is the use of a better quality paint for marking streets because pedestrian crossings painted less than a year ago are all but worn away. Recommendations will also focus on visibility.

“Lighting at busy crosswalks tends to be less effective than it should be,” according to the draft. “We will mention some specific cases that we encountered, but in general, a better method needs to be found so that drivers can better see people who may be crossing the street, particularly people who may be wearing dark clothing on a wet night.”

Street crossings were not the only areas of concern for the committee this semester. In addition, it is recommending the University add a second handrail on one of the exterior staircases at the Anderson Center and improve drainage on the walkway on East Drive near the Couper Administration Building, where ice tended to build up this year. New pathways created by pedestrian traffic near Mountainview College, which became slippery when wet, also came under scrutiny.

“There’s been a lot of progress,” Preus said. “A lot of things are sort of emerging issues. New construction, new patterns raise different issues over the course of time. The construction of Mountainview has raised a lot of issues that wouldn’t have existed before that.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08