Students sound off on pedestrian safety

Students sound off on pedestrian safety

By Patrick Wade

The University held a meeting as part of their Multi-Modal Transportation Study Wednesday in the Illini Union aimed at improving the efficiency and safety of commuter movement within campus.

The University hired Martin Alexiou Bryson, a consulting firm from North Carolina which specializes in improving the quality of transportation, to set up the workshop.

Than Austin, senior associate with Martin Alexiou Bryson, said that the main goal of the workshop was to get input from the campus community on transportation issues and possible solutions.

Students, faculty and others affiliated with the University came to express their concerns with traffic safety and were encouraged to fill Post-it notes with suggestions on how to improve transportation issues. They also discussed their thoughts on traffic and transportation with Martin Alexiou Bryson administrators.

Jacky Leung, sophomore in Engineering, said that the problem does not lie in the conflicting needs of commuters, but rather in the University’s handling of the situation.

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“I think they are trying to correct the wrong things,” he said.

Bill Martin, principal of the project for Martin Alexiou Bryson, said that one of the most prevalent transportation issues within campus is conflicting modes of transportation. He said that confusion occurs when two different commuters arrive at the same point, like when a biker comes to an intersection.

“You’ll hear it all the time,” Martin said. “A biker or pedestrian comes to an intersection and no one knows who is supposed to go or who has the right of way.”

Martin said that an important part of improving transportation safety on campus is improving or removing these points of conflict.

Some students claimed that the responsibility for safety on campus should rest on the shoulders of the students.

Stephanie Liss, freshman in LAS, said that most of the problems stem from careless pedestrians.

“Pedestrians automatically go without looking,” Liss said. “I think the problem would be decreased with more awareness.”

Austin said that these pedestrian transportation issues are not easily solved when faced with the conflicting needs of differing modes of transportation.

“Any decision you make is going to impact something else,” Austin said. “None of these issues are easily solved and they take time to implement.”

Martin said that short-term solutions put in place now will help the University in the long term.

“We’re trying to set overall guiding principles that will help improve transportation in coming years,” he said.