Thursday, December 6, 2007

A sign unnoticed by some

By Becky Newby
Arts and Entertainment Editor

The Saint Mary’s University main campus has several stop signs strategically placed for pedestrian safety, but recent traffic violation reports have shown that many drivers are simply choosing to ignore them.

“We are primarily a pedestrian-based campus,” said Director of Campus Safety Jerrie Seibert. “There have to be stop signs set accordingly.”

In recent weeks, Campus Safety received more complaints from pedestrians regarding stop sign violations than years before.

Senior Lindsay Dickson said she reported two separate vehicles in the past month for not stopping at a stop sign. “They didn’t even slow down or look,” Dickson said.

Before last month, Dickson never reported a single traffic sign violation. “I felt compelled to after hearing so many complaints from other students about cars not stopping or drivers getting mad if students walk too slowly.”

Seibert said there is a camera located at the main entrance of Saint Mary’s that records traffic, but most stop sign watching is done directly by Campus Safety staff members equipped with binoculars.

According to Seibert, the stop signs in front of the New Village path and Hillside hall are monitored more closely than others. “It seems like everyone is in a hurry,” he said. “They pay more attention to the time than on driving.”

Since the campus speed limit is 15 mph, Seibert said it’s easy to notice when cars speed past them. “We spend considerable time watching stop signs around the campus,” said Seibert.

Senior biker Erin McGuire said with exam week approaching, she already assumes that most cars won’t stop at every sign. “When it’s cutting close to class time and I approach a stop sign at the same time a car does, I will usually let them go first.”

If a vehicle is caught speeding past a traffic sign, Campus Safety will record the license plate number and issue a ticket through campus mail. A stop sign violation ticket is $25.

“It is more difficult to issue a violation ticket to a non-registered vehicle, because their name and license plate number aren’t recorded in the computer,” Seibert said. To prevent this, Campus Safety will follow a vehicle into a designated parking spot and directly issue a ticket, Seibert said.

Still, some drivers question if every stop is merited. “There are too many stop signs placed throughout campus,” said senior Antoinette DeLeon. “I always look both ways, but it’s a waste of time to make a complete stop if no one’s there.”

Yet other obstacles throughout campus may hinder a driver’s vision, said Dickson. “Sometimes it’s hard to see around parked cars or large trucks.”

Dickson suggested that Campus Safety install additional signs, intended for pedestrian use. “This could be a safety measure for both drivers and pedestrians.”

Campus Safety has not discussed further measures to control stop sign violations. Seibert said pedestrians who witness a violation should report the license plate number to the office immediately.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just saw a girl get hit by a car today on her way to class, she walking from the New Village and crossing by the St. Ed's parking lot. We all NEED to stop even if we think it's pointless!! Someone could get seriously injured. After what I witnessed today I will ALWAYS stop at the stop signs on campus.

In particular people need to be specifically careful about the cross walk from the new village to main campus. A speed bump should be put there.

Eric Saindon