Aug 24, 2019
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Stop! Go! Wait! Pedestrians and vehicles fight it out

Since the beginning of the semester, public safety traffic control officers have noticed crossing conditions becoming more dangerous for pedestrians, especially for those wearing portable music devices.

“Students who have their iPods on are kind of in a zone and not paying attention to their surroundings when they’re crossing the street from the parking lot to the campus,” said Amy Armstrong, public information officer for Fresno State’s University Police Department. “It happens pretty often when students will start to step out into the intersection when vehicles are coming, and they’ll see the car and kind of step back.”

Though there have not been any reported injuries this year, Armstrong said that students have been very close to being hit. The students weren’t paying attention to the signs of the traffic control officers either, she said.

Several students said that the wearing of portable music devices was not a problem.

“I just notice when these guys are out here,” junior Daniel Ruiz said. “[With] the green jacket, you can see them pretty well.”

“I’m attentive,” junior Chris Thompson said. “All you need to do is see them. Watch their hand signals; that’s about it.”

The problem is not portable music devices, but people just not paying attention, Armstrong said.

“If you have the volume turned down low and you can still hear what’s going on around you … then that’s okay.”

It is not only the responsibility of pedestrians to be safe, but the motorists as well.

Fresno State has a large commuter population, Armstrong said. Sometimes these drivers are in such a hurry that they don’t pay attention to the things going on around them. Like the pedestrians, they need to pay attention to their surroundings.

“I don’t think it’s very safe for people walking,” junior Brandon Glantz said. “You’re supposed to wait for everybody to get across the street before you go, but everybody is in a rush.”

Armstrong said it’s important for cars, pedestrians and traffic control officers to work together so traffic can move smoothly. During the duration of times when traffic control officers are not present, traffic moves much differently.

In front of parking Lot Q on Barstow Avenue, pedestrians cross the streets whenever an opportunity is open. Cars cross the intersection before the student completely crosses, many times when the motorist has just enough room to cross without hitting the pedestrian.

“I’ve stepped out in the road and [cars] think they can make it before I finish crossing,” freshman Megan Ramos said.

“Before traffic control officers are out there, the pedestrians trickle out into the street, so that also backs up traffic,” Armstrong said. “It goes so much smoother when you have someone controlling the traffic.”

When traffic control officers are present, the chaos of the crosswalk in front of Lot Q is somewhat controlled. Motorists don’t have to wait for one student to cross at a time.

Traffic control officers have students wait at the crosswalk until the signal is given to walk, and motorists are released in groups rather than each motorist stopping at the stop sign — a much safer exchange.

“[Traffic control] slows down the traffic, but it helps you get across the street safer,” Glantz said.

The public safety office’s job is to make sure students stay safe on campus, but Armstrong said that students themselves have to be safe first.

“People listen to [traffic control officers] more than they listen to the stop signs,” senior Jami Southwick said. “They actually stop and let people cross before they start trying to go.”

Most of the vehicle traffic is located on Barstow and Woodrow avenues, Armstrong said. These are the areas where students will need to be more careful when crossing.

“When crossing the street, [pedestrians] need to make sure they’re looking around, seeing if there is traffic control in the intersection, watching to see if cars are stopping,” Armstrong said.

One important safety tip for crossing the street is to make sure you make eye contact with the drivers that are stopped at the stop sign, so they stay stopped before you walk out there.”

Armstrong said it was important for people to make sure they use the crosswalks as well; “those are the designated areas that are safe to cross.”

Whether you are a motorist or a pedestrian at an intersection, Armstrong said, “you have to be responsible for you own safety.”

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