Crosswalk Conundrums

No college student on Allegheny’s campus could survive a semester without them, using them is a part of our daily routine and apparently, they’re aggravating some of the residents of Meadville.

Can’t guess what they are?

Why, they are the crosswalks on North Main Street, of course.

“Walk this way: Complaints, charges bring safety into spotlight,” a front–page article that appeared in the Meadville Tribune last Wednesday, informed subscribers of the tension that has been growing between drivers and the pedestrians who interact daily at campus crosswalks. The article focused on the local viewpoint of Meadville citizens and left the student views out of the story, which directly involves us.

Most students do not read the local paper and therefore would never know that complaints have been surfacing throughout the year concerning our walking habits on–campus.

Besides the subject being brought up in a Meadville City Council session by a citizen, “the Tribune received calls, anonymous Sound-Offs and even a column” concerning this issue. The matter seems to be based on the manner of how students are crossing the street, and complains that we are unconcerned and discourteous when we do not stop to look both ways.

While these ideas about what the pedestrians crossing the crosswalk should be doing are not invalid, those who see a problem in the manner in which we cross seem to have forgotten that we, the pedestrians, have the right–of–way.

I’m sure most students would agree that we do not want to be put in harm’s way and always try our best to make our presence known to drivers on the road. But when it is all said and done the job of stopping and watching out for traffic is left to motorists.

The people who feel the need to complain about students’ behavior at these crosswalks are simply upset that we have the right–of–way and that they always have to stop for us, no matter what. Students were underrepresented in the article released on Feb. 10 and our position in this situation has been forgotten –– even though it is an issue that is based on us.

I would like to bring to the attention of the drivers on the road who must encounter North Main crosswalks that they, unlike us, can take an alternate route.

If being observant in an area with high amounts of foot traffic is too much of a hassle, they can use roads that are parallel to North Main and their problems will be solved.

For most students, walking is our only mode of transportation and those crosswalks are essential in bringing us to class, eating, studying in the library, etc. Without using the crosswalks, we could not get through a day.

Like most students, I am aware that we are not the only people trying to get places, but it is our right to walk before motorists drive.

Like most, I realize that this right does not give us permission to not be careful and step out into the street without minding the surrounding traffic.

But if drivers are traveling on North Main, isn’t it their job to know they must be observant and ready to stop when they come to a crosswalk?

This was a frequent complaint posted through comments on the online version of the Tribune’s article.

The commentators belittle Allegheny students and show little respect for us by suggesting the school “hire a crossing guard and these kids can be escorted across the street like elementary students.”

They are insulting students by referring to us as “kids” and stating that those “using the crosswalks at Allegheny are still children and haven’t yet developed an adult sense of responsibility” yet look for our respect in return.

If students are careful (and most I see crossing North Main are) then residents have no right to complain about the few that aren’t.

They aren’t all perfect drivers either, are they?

Respect is a two way street, and I think I speak for the entire Allegheny student body when I say that we are willing to respect all those who respect us.

See you on the road, Meadville.

You can read the Meadville Tribune’s Feb. 10 article online at www.meadvilletribune.com.