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Campus takes steps to ensure pedestrian safety

Pedestrian safety remains a priority on campus, and several new measures will help to ensure that motorists share the road. Wayne Schneider, assistant director of operations for Physical Facilities, said his department has targeted four major steps:
• Following an engineer’s lighting survey of major roads on campus, some lighting has been changed. Higher wattage bulbs were installed and fixtures were cleaned.
• The methods of marking the road have been changed. Glass beads were used to make the markings more reflective in some areas. In other places, white inlays were applied using a heat gun. Facilities is also experimenting with yellow paint, which may be more visible than white markings once there’s snow on the ground.
• In heavy-traffic areas, Facilities is painting more stick figures on the road’s surface to highlight that a crosswalk is coming up.
• Some crosswalks that were redundant or inappropriate have been eliminated.
University police also have a new tool in their efforts to improve pedestrian safety: four radar signs that give drivers their speed should be installed by the end of the semester.

“It’s a wake up call for drivers when they see how fast they’re going,” said John Schwartz, director of public safety and chief of the University Police.

University Police enforce speed limits on campus, giving warnings or tickets to offenders.

In most places, the speed limit is 25 mph, though it’s 20 between Hinman College and the Couper Administration Building. Tickets are answerable in Vestal Town Court and generally carry a fine and court costs.

University Police emphasize that drivers and pedestrians have a shared responsibility to look out for one another. Drivers and pedestrians alike are often distracted by cell phones or music; it’s essential that they pay attention to each other in such a heavily traveled area.

“We encourage people to continue to be cautious,” Schwartz said. University Police encourage drivers to remember:
• To stop whenever a pedestrian is in a crosswalk.
• Not to pass vehicles that have stopped to allow someone to cross the road.
• To be aware that some pedestrians may need more time than others to cross. “Patience is always the best policy when you’re a motorist,” Schwartz said.

University Police also remind pedestrians:
• Not to assume cars will stop.
• To use one of the many clearly marked crosswalks when walking across a road.
Professor Tony Preus, chairman of the Personal Safety Advisory Committee, said the bright yellow paint and reflective white paint used for some crosswalks is a good idea.

“In the wintertime and when it’s wet, these things can be hard to see,” he said. “Having the appropriate places visible is a good thing.”

Preus said the lighting on campus is generally good and railings have been installed on some paths that get slippery. “The bottom line is that drivers and pedestrians must pay attention and be looking out for each other,” said Timothy R. Faughnan, deputy chief of police.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08