OPINION | Streets need more than signage for stopping

In major cities all around the world, crosswalks are utilized to help pedestrians safely traverse busy streets.

College campuses throughout the country are overrun by students when classes end, with cars unable to maneuver around the masses.

At Butler University, with our small student population and heavily trafficked streets, it is a hazard to cross campus on roads, even at pedestrian crossings.

To increase student and faculty safety when walking on campus, the Butler administration should invest in speed bumps for on-campus roads, like those by Lilly Hall, Jordan Hall and behind Atherton Union.

It was found that vehicular speeds were slower when speed bumps were placed 10 meters ahead of pedestrian crossings in a study by Luleå University of Technology in Sweden.

When I was a student at Carmel High School, students often sped down the trail from the school to the street after classes were over for the day.

Several car accidents occurred, which led the administration to implement the use of speed bumps to decrease the likelihood of speeding.

We should do this at Butler.

Faded paint and sparse signage are the only indications of students crossing the roads around Butler.

The lack of properly visible warnings has led to many near misses in my personal history as a pedestrian at Butler.

One particular memory stands out above the rest—it was a perfect fall day in 2009.

My last class had just let out, and I was walking from Lilly Hall back to Residential College. I stopped, looked and listened before judging the road safe to cross.

Out of nowhere, a car came speeding into the crosswalk that I was standing in.

Like a deer in headlights, my head swiveled toward the car, and I sprinted out of the way.

My heart was beating so fast; I had almost been hit by a car in a pedestrian crosswalk.

Associate professor of English William Watts agreed with the frustration.

As an avid cyclist, Watts is acutely aware of the interaction cars, bikes, and pedestrians have on a daily basis.

“Butler should have the very best protection it can for pedestrians,” Watts said.

Watts said the campus wasn’t designed for pedestrians or cyclists, which leads to a campus design that isn’t conducive to those who choose two feet or two tires instead of a car to get around.

“It’s kind of an historical problem,” Watts said. “Butler used to be more of a commuter school—the big mall area was actually a street. In a lot of ways, the campus developed more for cars than for people.”

Times have changed, though, and traffic changes with it.

Across campus, people are aware of this problem, and there are easy ways to fix it.

On-campus roads should have speed bumps before pedestrian crossings and more signs indicating that students, faculty and guests will be walking there.

With fairly little money—each speed bump costs around $1,000 to install—our campus could be so much safer.
Should our campus be spending money to beautify our crosswalks with paw prints before they spend it on our safety in those crosswalks?

The administration should take that age-old adage to heart—safety first.


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