Pedestrian safety report released

Report discusses improving pedestrian safety

The Pedestrian Safety Task Force recently released its comprehensive report as a part of the University’s master plan to improve pedestrian safety.

The Pedestrian Safety Task Force was appointed by President Eisler in November 2009 to review current conditions regarding pedestrian safety on campus and identifying ways to improve safety.Jerry Scoby, vice president of administration and finance and chair of the task force, said, “it was a great task force to work with.”

Scoby said Student Government members Claire Gould and Morgan Toms put a lot of effort into the task force. Toms created a 26-page report of assessments of the crosswalks around campus.

The task force is working with the City of Big Rapids and the Michigan Department of Transportation in regards to implementing the recommendations suggested to the task force.

Suggestions include adding crosswalks and stop signs, improving crosswalks and eliminating crosswalks.

Locations in the report include campus Power Plant crossing from South Warren Avenue to the Wesley House, where a crosswalk is needed, according to the report. Another suggestion includes converting Stadium Drive’s intersection into a four-way stop.

The report states the task force approaches pedestrian safety matters through the three “Es”, which refer to engineering, education and enforcement. The task force adopted this general outline to help organize the approach on each topic.

Also, the report states the group served as a “committee of the whole” in the area of engineering, and that is where the group spent 90 percent of the time.

“The taskforce came up with some very helpful suggestions,” said Scoby. He said they are practical, inexpensive and will improve the campus and community.

This summer, Scoby said the task force would begin implementing a number of the suggestions, including Wesley House/campus Power Plant on South Street, eliminating the sidewalk and crosswalk on South Street by Top Taggart field and South Street crossing to Pickell Hall and Knollview Drive.

Additional projects will take place in Summer 2011, as some of the timing is not clear yet, said Scoby. The university is also collaborating with M-DOT, which will affect timing as well.