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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Univ concerned about crosswalk safety

Published: September 17, 2010
Section: News

Jaywalking: A Brandeis student waits for the light at the South Street crosswalk. Every year the university’s departments of public safety and community living are concerned about student safety at the crosswalk due to speeding traffic.
PHOTO BY Ingrid Schulte/The Hoot

The university is once again warning students about the danger of crossing South Street at the cross walk by the Gosman Athletic Center, Ed Callahan, Director of Public Safety, and Mike Vella, Community Development Coordinator for the Charles River Apartments and the Mods.

“Each year we try to focus on crosswalk safety,” Callahan said in a phone interview with The Hoot.

Callahan said that in “that crosswalk’s history, we’ve had two to three accidents in the last six years.” He noted that this academic year, there have been no accidents of students being struck by cars while in the crosswalk.

The Squire Bridge overpass connects the campus to the Gosman Athletic Center, but for students who live in the Mods, the crosswalk offers a more direct route.

On each side of the street, there is a yellow sign with a symbol of a person crossing the street and two yellow lights. The lights only become activated and begin to flash when students press the button. Callahan said that the crosswalk and lights were installed by the city of Waltham at the request of the university in order to give students more convenient access to the Mods.

Callahan sent a statement to the entire Brandeis community on Sept. 7 reminding them that “these [yellow] lights are designed to alert oncoming traffic that pedestrians will be crossing.”

“I wish they had one of those things where it was a walk signal, instead of flashing lights,” Olga Raptis ’11 said, noting that a senior was recently involved in a traffic incident while riding his bicycle down South Street.

According to a written statement from Vella on Sept. 8, “recently students have been injured, or involved in accidents while crossing South Street.”

“I feel that some students get impatient,” Vella said. “Don’t just press it and bolt across the street.”

Callahan agreed and said that students need to be more aware that they are crossing a busy street. “That’s the message that we’re trying to get across,” Callahan said. “People are not invincible.”

The original purpose of the Squire Bridge was to provide a safe way for students to walk to Gosman, he said.

Because of a Waltham police officer stationed on South Street during the summer, Callahan said that Waltham police were able to issue between citations every week. He added that it is very troubling to see cars speeding down the busy road, especially because the university and Stanley Elementary School are located so close.

“I definitely have seen Waltham police clocking people a lot more for speeding,” Vela said.

“The safe actions that you initiate may prevent an accident from occurring,” Callahan wrote in his statement.