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AlliedBarton provides presence at crosswalks

USF’s 1-year-old addition to security personnel is helping ease traffic issues on campus.

With a high volume of pedestrians using crosswalks during heavy traffic, AlliedBarton Captain Kevin Byrne said the security company now directs traffic to offer relief to pedestrians and motorists on campus.

USF President Judy Genshaft’s office made the recommendation to AlliedBarton at the beginning of this semester, Byrne said.

“It’s beneficial because with us being out there, we control who’s walking across and when they walk across,” he said. “With us controlling that, (the campus is) a safer environment.”

AlliedBarton security officers are usually at crosswalks two to three times each day, Byrne said.

“There’s no set schedule of what time it gets busy,” he said. “One day we could be out there for an hour or two hours, or we could be out there for 20 minutes and not be out there the rest of the day.”

UP spokeswoman Lt. Meg Ross said AlliedBarton’s assistance has been helpful in clearing traffic.

AlliedBarton, which is under the Division of Public Safety, joined campus personnel last year. USF hires the private security firm for traffic control, first aid and elevator rescue during power outages, according to usfwed3.usf.edu.

“It’s been great for us because we’re not able to be out there all the time,” Ross said.

Ross said there have been four non-fatal crashes that involved pedestrians on campus this year. There were four non-fatal crashes last year, she said.

In three of the crashes this year, UP reports said the pedestrian was injured and the driver got a ticket. In the remaining accident, both the driver and the pedestrian were issued warnings for illegal tinting and obstructing traffic, respectively.

Tiffany Miller, a sophomore majoring in business, said she has had “close calls” while walking the crosswalks on campus.

Miller said she believes the campus is safer for pedestrians and drivers when AlliedBarton directs traffic, but students should take responsibility, too.

“They should keep (the guards) to keep us safe, but it’s not a necessity” Miller said. “Students should watch where they’re going.”

Ross said pedestrians and bicyclists on the crosswalk have the right of way, and all vehicles should yield to them.

“But pedestrians need to know that they can’t step into the crosswalk in front of a car that’s already approaching,” Ross said. “They don’t have the right of way until they step into the crosswalk.”

Will Shelnutt, a senior majoring in business management, said he was “almost clipped” by a motorist who sped in front of him at a crosswalk.

“The drivers think they have the right of way and they don’t,” he said.

Byrne said AlliedBarton has received recommendations for more crosswalk signals and that the addition of signals will be “looked into.” Until then, he said students can expect the officers to assist with the flow of traffic.

“Right now, it’s something that we’re going to keep watching and getting involved with as long as it’s an issue,” Byrne said.