Traffic tops N.I.T.E. Walk’s concerns

Students focused on traffic safety during the biannual N.I.T.E. Walk.

Nearly 150 students and staff members who joined the student organization Necessary Improvements to Transform our Environment (N.I.T.E.) Wednesday night.

Traffic on campus was a main concern for James Hyatt, senior vice president of finance and business. He said there are plans in the budget to install a traffic light on the corner of Holly Drive and 50th Street, where many traffic accidents occur. Sidewalks are also planned for the high-traffic area.

Students said the many automobile and bicycle crimes around USF were also a big concern.

Zain Nensey, a junior accounting major, said there needs to be a student safety awareness program during orientation, especially regarding car theft. 

“Although there are budget cuts, safety is something you cannot ignore,” he said.

The N.I.T.E. Walk is an event that allows students to assess safety issues. Students, joined by several staff members including Hyatt and UP police chief Thomas Longo, broke into nine groups of 10 to 12 people and marched off to seek out unsafe areas.

“We take the reports from each group and put the concerned issues onto two lists,” said Eileen Dabrowski, president of N.I.T.E. “Things that are inexpensive and necessarily easy to fix, such as trimming shrubs and replacing blubs, we sent to Physical Plant.”

She said these issues are almost immediately taken care of, but larger issues that are more expensive and timely go on a wish list of sorts.

Each year N.I.T.E., vice president of Public Safety Bruce Benson and Student Government work together to accomplish several of their top wish list items. 

“This year one of our top wish list items is a stop sign on Alumni Drive, which is a top accident spot on campus,” said Nicole Randazzo, SG chief of staff.

Last November, N.I.T.E. walk volunteers and members reported that the yellow lights around campus were very dull and several of the emergency lights on campus were out. While all of the emergency lights were lit this time around, students said the blue lights seem to be too dull and not very visible.

Also, students were not allowed to test the blue light emergency system buttons during the walk because it would stall the system if there were an actual emergency on campus.

Students said they were disappointed they were unable to test the emergency buttons, but Longo said the system is tested monthly and that all the lights do work.

He also said that police officers are one to two minutes away from an emergency because the station is located on campus.

“In some areas it takes police 10-20 minutes to respond to a call, and it only takes our guys one to two minutes, which allows us to snatch the robber,” he said.

Overall, Longo and students said USF is a fairly safe campus despite minor issues that need to be fixed.