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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Take steps to improve crosswalk safety

Published: December 9, 2011
Section: Editorials

Another Brandeis student was transported to the hospital last month after getting hit while crossing South Street.

Enough is enough. Brandeis and Waltham ought to implement new procedures to ensure student and driver safety.

Last week, Police Chief Ed Callahan warned students via e-mail to use the designated crosswalk or pedestrian bridge when crossing South Street.

But that misses the point.

Why are drivers speeding down South Street in the first place? And why are so many students unable to look both ways before crossing the street?

And, for crying out loud, why don’t students cross at the crosswalk and activate the pedestrian lights to warn drivers?

The answer: a precedent of haphazard safety measures and miscommunication with students.

We propose four changes that are sure to decrease the number and severity of accidents moving forward.

1. Increase the number and prominence of crosswalks. Currently, there are two: one near the commuter rail and one by Linsey Pool. There should be more large warning signs indicating pedestrian crossings, including at the main driveways into campus. Warning signs 50 feet and 100 feet before crosswalks should warn drivers that they are approaching a pedestrian crossing.

2. Install speed bumps. No, we don’t like them either, but the speeds of some cars on South Street are outrageous. Speed bumps are proven to slow cars down and would help warn drivers of the densely populated zone they are entering.

3. Display permanent warning signs reminding pedestrians to use crosswalks on the sidewalks near South Street.

4. Improve lighting near crosswalks. The crash that occurred last month happened in the evening in poor lighting. Brighter lights would help drivers see pedestrians crossing the street.

Stationing police officers near the crosswalk has been a positive change, but we hope the administration will consider our proposals. We won’t pretend to have all the answers. But our community can’t be naive.

Crosswalk safety requires real changes because the alternative is waiting for a more serious accident and by that time it will be too late.