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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Crosswalk safety: Bridge the gap

Published: January 29, 2010
Section: Editorials

Traffic safety is not a joke. For this reason, The Hoot applauds the Waltham Police Department for its recent increase in surveillance of the crosswalk on South Street. The trouble is that traffic surveillance is not the answer to speeding or students crossing streets negligently.

In the case of South Street, the City of Waltham ought to reduce the speed limit significantly, install speed bumps and narrow the width of the street. The reason? South Street is a long, winding road where drivers have a proclivity toward speeding: At the same time, the entire area is heavily populated, as is the case around any college campus. These two facts create a dangerous situation. Reducing the speed limit to 15 miles per hour, installing regular speed bumps that instill caution in drivers and narrowing the street such that drivers perceive that speeding would be dangerous would all be options to make the street more safe. While these steps seem drastic, they have been proven to slow traffic, and slower traffic around a school zone is a reasonable goal.

Now, The Hoot urges our own Department of Public Safety to take a second look at other critical intersections.

Take, for instance, the crosswalk between the Rabb steps and the rest of campus. At times, public safety officers will direct traffic at that intersection, but when they do not, drivers often pass through that area at high speeds without regard for pedestrians. Similarly, the crosswalk between the Shapiro Campus Center and the residences on lower campus can be a spot of confusion.

Here again, changes must be implemented to see that traffic flow does not endanger students. Brandeis should install speed bumps and increase the number of stop signs on the loop road. Every crosswalk should be marked by a large ‘caution’ sign, indicating that drivers should use caution. These steps, among others, will help slow down traffic and increase crosswalk safety.