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Walkways cut off in an effort to facilitate pedestrian safety on campus

November 14th, 2013

The first view of John Carroll University when entering campus has recently been altered, as the main gate has recently undergone a few renovations. Up until last week, after turning right onto Main Drive upon entering through the main gate, a short walkway between the bushes led out of campus onto the parallel Carroll Boulevard. This walkway was a common cut-through for students both entering and exiting campus. A similar walkway existed on the opposing side of Main Drive, leading out of campus onto Milford Road. These walkways have been closed off and a fence has been constructed around all the bushes, blocking the previous cut-throughs from Carroll Boulevard and Milford Road to campus.

Carol Dietz, associate vice president of facilities, explained that these changes were made in order to try and urge pedestrians on campus to walk in designated crosswalks. The old walkways that cut through the bushes led students to cross both Carroll Boulevard and Milford Road at spots that did not have crosswalks, and thus jaywalk across those streets. The fence is a temporary snow fence that was installed to keep pedestrians from walking through the bushes and to encourage them to walk on the sidewalks leading into campus. Dietz said that the overall goal of these renovations is to “focus on pedestrian and driver safety in and around campus.”

The decision to make these changes on campus was largely a result of the car accident that occurred on Main Drive near the Dolan East Lot on Oct. 9.

“The recent accident on campus resulted in a broader evaluation of pedestrian safety at JCU,” said Dietz. “We wanted to focus on pedestrian safety in these areas and encourage a safe path of travel.”

“The student being hit by a car was such an unfortunate accident, and the University is looking at how we can make the campus safer for pedestrians and students who are walking on the campus,” said Dean of Students Sherri Crahen. “I am sensitive to both of these women involved and how it has affected them; it has been a life-changing experience for both.”

Although the main focus of these new reconstructions on campus is safety for all people entering JCU, many students have seen the changes as an inconvenience and annoyance.

Sophomore Karalina Yamaletdzinava, who takes this route three times a week, does not like the construction of the fence. “It takes a longer time to get to class,” she said. Yamaletdzinava said that she is frustrated by having to walk around and often forgets that the fence is there.

“The closing of pathways between bushes on the edge of campus will require pedestrians to walk a few more feet on sidewalks to the front gate before crossing Carroll Boulevard or Milford Road,” said Mark McCarthy, vice president of student affairs, who was involved in the decision-making process that led to the closing of these walkways. “While students will have to redirect their routes a bit to and from campus, they will now be crossing the streets at official crosswalks. Again, the safety of pedestrian and vehicular traffic on campus is of utmost concern and requires cooperation and awareness of all members of the community.”

Other students are frustrated by the construction, but are aware and sensitive of the issues that caused this change. Senior Jacob Kurkul explained that he has cut through the Pizzazz parking lot off of Carroll Boulevard and then the walkway for the past year and a half on his way to school each day and has now altered his route.

“I counted it out – it’s about 30 seconds longer to walk this way, but I don’t mind walking the extra 30 seconds if it means increased safety of the student body,” Kurkul said. “I think it’s a good start, but I think they should consider putting lights, like a streetlight or lamp post. It is a little dim over there.”

Kurkul’s roommate, senior Joe Spychalski, said the fence will be ineffective.

“I really don’t think it does much. They still have the crosswalk and no extra signs,” Spychalski said.