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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Drivers must be more conscientious on Loop Road

Published: March 21, 2014
Section: Opinions

It is five minutes until class starts, and you are running toward the Rabb Steps to make it on time. As you try to cross the road to get to the Rabb Steps, a car suddenly speeds through. You are surprised that the driver drove so fast and feel lucky that you are safe and sound. You remind yourself to look for a car coming before you cross Loop Road next time.
It is not surprising to hear that people are driving too fast at Brandeis. Many people do drive fast on South Street, to the point where the city of Waltham had to place a pedestrian crossing signal near the Foster Mods. However, many drivers also speed on Loop Road. Unlike South Street, there is no crosswalk light slowing down cars. This is a problem as many students have to cross Loop Road often. They cross Loop Road to get to the Rabb Steps or to the Mandel Center or even to East Quad.
I cross Loop Road at least five or six times a day to get to class, my dorm and Usdan. I do not like it when drivers speed on Loop Road. If a driver does not hit the brakes on time when someone is crossing, it can lead to a very serious accident. Many car accidents have occurred on South Street over the years. The most recent one was this past February, when three students were struck by a car on the crosswalk. No one wants this to happen again, so Brandeis is taking many measures to ensure the safety of the Brandeis community. However, the issue with cars speeding around Loop Road still remains unaddressed. It is better to address this problem now rather than wait for a car accident to occur and respond to it afterwards.
There are a few solutions to solve this problem. One possible solution is to install a pedestrian crossing signal next to the Rabb Steps since many students need to get to the Mandel Quad for class. This way, students can press the button for the light to signal and alert drivers to stop when they might not exactly see a student about to cross. However, this solution is not that practical as it would be expensive to install a traffic light next to Rabb steps and maintain it. Also, it would be inconvenient for students to press a button and cross Loop Road as they are rushing to class, and they might not want to wait to safely cross.
Installing a motion sensor traffic light would make it more convenient for students to cross Loop Road. But Loop Road is only one way. Unlike South Street, which is a two-way street, it is easier to see when a car is moving or see students wanting to cross. Having a traffic light near the Rabb Steps might be more troublesome than not having one.
Another possible solution is to encourage drivers to slow down when driving around campus, either through an increased police presence or more signage alerting them to the speed limit. This way, students do not have to fear for their lives walking out into the street if a driver is going too fast on Loop Road. Some drivers might wind up pleading ignorance if they accidentally cause an accident, claiming that they weren’t aware of the speed limit.
Although there are many drivers who go too fast around Loop Road, students should also be cautious when crossing the street. Students need to be cognizant of their surroundings while crossing, making sure nothing is coming around a blind corner. If students suddenly ran across Loop Road, it could surprise drivers and they might not be able to stop in time.
It is important to keep an eye out for cars coming down Loop Road, even if it means waiting a few minutes for the cars to pass through. If we all did our part in being safer around campus, Loop Road would be a bit safer for everyone to walk and drive. Rather than hoping for no car accidents to occur, we should take action and encourage drivers to slow down while driving around campus and students to look both ways before crossing the street. While this may seem a bit immature, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.