Foot traffic troubles

The amount of traffic on State Street has caused hassle for pedestrians and drivers in Big Rapids.

Now Ferris DPS is reconsidering placement of crossing areas, and as a student who travels by foot more often than car I would like to voice some possible solutions besides the current plan of FSU’s Department of Safety.

As reported in last week’s edition of the Torch, the crosswalk by Williams Auditorium that leads to Burger King will be taken out and placed a few hundred feet south. Though this is a good plan, it still does not present a complete resolution to crossing State Street. State Street is a highly traveled street during the day, which poses a problem for both drivers and pedestrians.

FSU’s DPS should also consider the crosswalks in front of Pickell and Taggart Residence Halls crossing toward the College of Business as a target to increase safety on campus. When I lived in Pickell, crossing this area always proved to be difficult, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

With the addition of the Michigan College of Optometry to Ferris, there will be added pedestrian traffic to the already heavily populated west side of campus. Near the college of Optometry is the largest residence hall on campus along with a couple other residence halls. Crossing for students from these to the College of Pharmacy and the College of Optometry may call for higher safety for students.

Some may argue this is not a cost efficient plan and would require a lot of work, having an overpass built would greatly reduce students’ risk of being hit by oncoming traffic. As Ferris’ enrollment continues to increase each year so does the flow of traffic. The immediate future calls for a revamped crosswalk system, but in the next couple years it would be practical for Ferris to introduce a skywalk on campus.

A skywalk would greatly reduce travel time for students. There would no longer be a need to wait for traffic to slow down or crossing signals to be in the pedestrian’s favor in order to cross State Street. Also, students will not have to risk running across a busy State Street to get on and off campus.

Drivers would also benefit. Fewer students would be clogging the streets. A driver could worry less about a student jumping out in front of them or be forced to wait while students cross.

The only problem I see with a skywalk is the expense. There are less expensive ways to increase safety when walking across State Street, but building a skywalk would ultimately take care of any current complaints about crossing State Street. n