New ideas for crosswalk safety

Crosswalk safety has become a growing issue on campus since the death of a Ferris student in a pedestrian-vehicle accident last October.

Vice President of Administration and Finance and chair of the Pedestrian Safety Task Force Committee, Jerry Scoby, said the task force has held three meetings so far to discuss solutions that will improve crosswalk safety on campus.

“Basically we’re trying to get input if any people want to weigh in on this topic and share their views,” said Scoby.

A Facebook page for the crosswalk pedestrian safety taskforce was created in order for students to share their thoughts and ideas on the issue.

Scoby hopes more students will participate in voicing their thoughts on crosswalk safety. During the Dec. 10 meeting, he said participation was “very light.”

“We don’t have a structural problem, we have an education problem; we need to educate drivers as well,” said Scoby.

Pedestrian safety has been a strong topic of discussion among Student Government. Claire Gould, President of Student Government and member of the Pedestrian Safety Task Force Committee, said they have been working on areas of concern for pedestrians on campus and discussing solutions to make Ferris safer and then working to implement those solutions.

A proposal to put up a raised crosswalk over State Street is a suggestion that has been offered by members of the taskforce.

“We’re still in the idea gathering stage,” said Scoby. He said many members of the task force in addition have offered ideas such as a bridge tunnel.

Gould said Student Government is now working alongside DPS and helping them determine a count of pedestrian travel near Morrison Street and on State Street to the south along the front of Burger King, Qdoba and Rite Aid.

The information would be used by MDOT to initiate further review of the location to make it safer for drivers and pedestrians.

“Pedestrian safety is also a major issue for the Student Government Campus Affairs Committee,” said Gould. The committee constructed a 30-page document of the different crosswalks on campus and safety evaluations for each one that will be determined by students. A final recommendation will be made as to what should be done.

The document will be presented to the taskforce this week in reference to making a decision.

Scoby said other suggestions to increase pedestrian-crosswalk safety include adding different signs.

“We have identified the process of adding different crosswalks,” he said. The three major areas are South State Street in front of the business building, the Starr building and Helen Ferris hall, and the drive between the Rankin Center and Carlisle Hall.

“Those are some areas we’ll be spending time and energy on,” said Scoby.

The taskforce and Student Government will be hosting an open forum/discussion about pedestrian safety on Tuesday, Jan. 19 from 11-11:50 a.m. in IRC 120. The forum is open to students, faculty, staff and community members. Posters for the event will be going up next week. Gould and Scoby are hoping for a good turnout.

“This is the time that anyone can voice their opinion and let the university know what areas need to be changed and ideas that they have on making campus safer,” said Gould.