Crosswalks responsible for traffic congestion

Pedestrians be wary, for the intensity of traffic congestion rests squarely on your foot.

According to University Police spokesman Michael Klingebiel, traffic problems on campus aren’t due to intersections or traffic lights, but pedestrians and crosswalks.

“Specifically, we have problems with the raised crosswalk crossing Maple from Lot 22 (connecting the Sun Dome and the business building)” Klingebiel said. “If pedestrians would just learn to group together instead of walking one at a time there would be less congestion.”

USF senior Emily Stewart can attest to the risks involved at that particular crosswalk.

“I’ve been close to run over several times crossing that crosswalk” senior Emily Stewart said. “People (in their cars) get so impatient and almost don’t care what happens.”

Klingebiel said accidents are mainly caused by human error.

“Speed and distance is what usually causes accidents,” Klingebiel said. “And with students stepping off the curb right there, even if the driver was only going 25 mph – there’s no way they could stop in time; luckily, though, I can recall no pedestrian accidents that have happened yet on that raised crosswalk.”

At the beginning of each semester, UP assigns an officer to aid traffic on the crosswalk.

“We just don’t have the manpower to keep an officer there year round,” Klingebiel said. “We assume that by the third week of school most students have gotten themselves into a routine, and know how bad traffic will be.”

While there is no foolproof method for getting through this particular area, the more experienced students are with the system, the easier it will be, Klingebiel said.

“If people would just plan for parking and be flexible about where they park at, we would run into less problems,” he said. “Not everyone can park at the Sun Dome everyday.”

While pedestrians complain about cars, drivers get aggravated as well.

“I hate waiting by that area; they should build more crosswalks just so that not so many people are crowded on that one,” fourth-year engineering student Ben Golden said. “It takes so long sometimes; I feel like my car is going to overheat just from sitting there.”

There are no plans underway to build additional crosswalks, but the University may look into building more once the new research buildings are constructed, Klingebiel said.

“Development dictates where new roads and crosswalks will be,” he said.

According to Klingebiel, the tally of on-campus car accidents in 2004 was 445. The number of accidents this year is 238, he said.

Unfortunately though, this semester started with two pedestrians being struck.

“An accident is just that. If it were anything else it would be called a purpose,” Klingebiel said. “People just need to remember to take their time and be patient.”