Letter: Crossing danger

By The Daily Illini

Could there be a worse way to solve campus safety issues than the “yield to pedestrian” crosswalks popping up around campus? Everyone I have talked to finds these crossings more dangerous than regular intersections, for the simple reason that not many people understand how to use them. Pedestrians mistakenly believe that it gives them a complete and utter right of way.

The rule is “Yield to pedestrians in crosswalk,” not “Yield to pedestrians wishing to enter the crosswalk.” As a driver on campus, I consistently observe bikers and pedestrians darting out into these crosswalks in front of approaching cars, sometimes without even looking first. The problem worsens at night, when whole groups of people in the dark can be basically invisible to drivers, yet drivers are required to stop only if they see a pedestrian.

More danger is added when the markers in the center of the road are knocked down and not replaced immediately, leaving drivers that are unfamiliar with campus streets clueless to the confusion they are about to approach. I live on Fourth Street, and the crosswalks that I refer to cross Fourth at John Street, Armory Avenue and near Gregory Avenue. I acknowledge that these were a response to last year’s tragedy at Fourth and John streets.

However, I think a better solution is necessary. What about Fourth and Chalmers streets, which is hands-down the most dangerous intersection on campus? Where is a solution for the “S-turns” at the Chalmers Street jog that threaten injury to myself and others daily? I think there are two solutions: better speed enforcement by campus police in problematic areas and the use of common sense by pedestrians and drivers alike. If you were able to get into the University of Illinois, you should have no problem looking both ways before you cross a street.

David Sweas

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