Today: Apr 21, 2024

Farnham crosswalk poses threat to students

Mackenzie Hurlbert – General Assignment Reporter

Two Southern students were struck by a vehicle in the crosswalk on Farnham Ave. on Saturday Oct. 20. The two students, one being Erika Shore of Wilkinson Hall, were taken to Yale New Haven hospital. Shore was diagnosed with a concussion and sustained minor injuries while her friend, whose name hasn’t been disclosed by Southern Police, suffered an injury to her leg and arm.

The accident was reported to Southern Police around 7:30 p.m.

“Southern Police responded and assisted but notified the New Haven P olice to take the investigation as this is a city street and New Haven conducts the accident investigations on their roadways,” said Chief Joseph Dooley of the Southern Police Department.

Mackenzie Hurlbert | General Assignment
Reporter Students walking back from class to their residence halls.

“Both students stated they did not see the vehicle,” said Dooley. “The operator of the vehicle stated he took his eyes off the roadway momentarily and did not see the pedestrians until his vehicle struck them.”

The driver of the car that struck Shore and her friend stopped immediately after the accident and stayed to give his information to the investigating officers.

“The New Haven Police found the driver at fault and issued him a warning for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk,” said Dooley.

Southern student and Community Coordinator at Wilkinson Hall, Erika Shore declined an interview and said “I do not remember what happened.”

Chief Dooley said he could not remember the last time someone has been struck in a crosswalk at Southern but said, “I certainly feel one is too many.”

“There are multiple crosswalks on campus and pedestrians should use extreme caution when crossing due to the increase of distracted drivers that travel the roadways,” said Dooley.

As far as improving the safety of this site, many precautions have been made by Southern Police to increase a driver’s awareness of the crosswalk.

“The University has increased the lighting in the Farnham Ave crosswalk area in previous years and the Southern Police placed the crosswalk signs in the middle of the roadway several years ago,” said Dooley.

“The Southern Police frequently monitor the location but pedestrians need to pay extra attention when crossing. The dusk time period is especially dangerous as this can be a difficult time for drivers to see clearly.”

There are certain things pedestrians can do to be safer when crossing the street. “One major issue… is the increasing number of students talking or texting on their phones while crossing and also wearing ear or headphones, diminishing external sound around them,” said Dooley.

Other tips from the Southern Police site include “Always look for signs that a car is about to move; rear lights, exhaust smoke, sound of wheels turning and never walk behind a vehicle that is backing up.”

“At intersections, scan over your shoulder for turning vehicles to make sure that the driver knows you are there.”

Lastly, the tip all pedestrians should follow when crossing the street is “Stop at the curb and look left, right and left again before you step into the street. Be sure to evaluate the distance and speed of on-coming traffic before you step out into the street to ensure that a vehicle has adequate distance in which to stop safely.”

Many Southern students use these crosswalks throughout the day. Some cross them as pedestrians, others in their cars, but no matter if on foot or on wheels, safety should be their number one priority.

Sophomore Julia Evola is a resident in West and has faced a couple close calls while crossing the road on the crosswalk, one specific event included a university shuttle.

“I have my car on campus so I understand that at night people sometime run out onto the crosswalks, but still, there are a lot of bad drivers and it’s your responsibility as a driver to be aware of your surroundings and signs,” Evola said.

Commuter Patrick Cumpstone, education and history major, felt pedestrians don’t usually use caution while crossing the crosswalk.

Cumpstone said, “As a commuter, I think that some pedestrians at Southern are safely using the crosswalks and some are simply relying on the ‘yield to pedestrians’ signs. When driving on Farnham, which is not very often, I find that students who travel in groups will just walk out into the crosswalk without looking if there is a car first.”

“Personally, I always travel slowly when approaching the crosswalk, but I find that many other drivers travel much faster than the posted speed limit, causing me to believe that police presence needs to be much more frequent in this area, especially after the accident,” said Cumpstone.

Cumpstone said that he thinks drivers need to be a lot more cautious with pedestrians because whether they are looking or not before crossing, it’s the drivers job to yield and pay attention.

Parker Dumont, commuter, has noticed the same problem with pedestrians crossing without looking.

“I think that sometimes people think that the signs make an invisible wall that makes them invincible,” said Dumont, who faces the crowds of midday crosswalk pedestrians every day while trying to leave campus.

“There will be a train of 4000 people and then just as I get a break, I’ll start to go, only to have someone run in front of me with their iPod in!”

No matter the opinion students may have about crosswalk safety, the responsibility is mutual.

Chief Dooley said, “This is a very important issue that we don’t want to see happen again.”

Mackenzie Hurlbert | General Assignment Reporter
Students try to dodge speeding cars while walking to their morning classes.

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