Allegheny campus lacks traffic safety measures

Traffic safety is something that our parents lectured us about when we finally became old enough to cross the street to school by ourselves.  As we get older it seems to become less threatening.

Hannah Morris, ’17, was struck by a car on Oct. 29, 2015 at about 10:45 p.m. while crossing North Main Street.  She later died at Meadville Medical Center from sustained injures, according to Erie News Now. She was just a few feet outside of the crosswalk and the vehicle that hit her was reportedly going the posted speed limit, 35 mph.

While Allegheny has recently installed new crosswalks at most of the major pedestrian crossings on campus, it has failed to address the true issue at hand.

When walking home from the library at 10 o’clock at night, as I cross North Main Street and make my way back to my dorm, it is pitch black.  The street light in front of the library has been out for as along as I can remember.  I honestly think it has been dark since I came to this school.

When I walk back to North Village II on the weekends, there are maybe two street lamps that light my way.

By the time I walk back from dinner the few street lamps on campus are already lit and scared students try to be more cautious as they run across the street in hopes that the cars traveling down the hill slow down, even though the speed limit signs do not advise them to do so.

Ever since I came to Allegheny, I have noticed that traffic safety measures along the busy roads that go through campus do not seem to be an urgent concern of the college.

I come from a town with a small liberal arts college that has a speed limit of 15 mph down the busiest street on campus.  There is a traffic light at the most commonly used pedestrian crossing so students can cross safely.  Speed bumps and street lamps line the entire length of streets through campus in order to make students more visible and to caution drivers.

Unfortunately, the catalyst for the school in my hometown to put in all of these safety precautions was the death of a young woman who was hit by a car and killed.  It seems Allegheny has come to the same crossroad.

As a student seeking a college education I expect to feel safe and protected while I walk around campus.  When I walk to class I pass multiple sites in which Safety and Security can be called with a push of a button. When the fire alarm goes off in my dorm because a student burnt their pizza rolls at 1 a.m., Safety and Security shows up within a couple minutes and fixes the problem.  Even false alarms are treated seriously and taken care of as if they were a real emergency that threatened the safety of students.

The area that Allegheny has seemed to overlook regarding safety on campus, however, is exactly what caused Hannah Morris’s fatal accident.

While the new addition of distinct crosswalks is a step in the right direction I cannot help but think that a slower speed limit, a few street lamps and some speed bumps could be the difference between life and death.

North Main Street, Loomis Street, Park Avenue, Highland Avenue and Allegheny Street are among the busiest streets that run through campus and not one of them has a speed bump or is well lit.  Most of them have a speed limit of 35 mph.

Hundreds of students cross those streets when it is dark out and hard for drivers to see.  Hundreds of students have to cross the street to get to class in the midst of what is Meadville rush-hour traffic.  And hundreds of students have been in a close encounter with a car speeding down these busiest streets at one time or another at Allegheny.

Whether it is the campus’ job or the city of Meadville’s job, something has to be done to prevent these types of accidents from occurring.

The first step should be the installation and maintenance of street lamps, so that streets and sidewalks are well lit both for the safety of students and of drivers.  Speed bumps or traffic lights should also guard some of the busiest crosswalks on campus, like the one in front of Baldwin Hall and the crosswalk connecting Brooks Walk and the sidewalk by Montgomery Hall.  Lastly, the speed limit on all roads through and surrounding the campus should be reduced to a maximum of 20 mph.

Being proactive about this issue will do nothing but help the situation.  The safety of Allegheny members and Meadville residents depends on whether or not the Allegheny campus and city of Meadville decide to remedy the traffic safety concerns.