Parking lots, concrete barriers still dangerous for pedestrians

Jan Maldonado

Jan Maldonado

Jan Maldonado

OK, let’s talk about the new and “improved” (and I use that word loosely) crosswalk situation. At first, I was delighted that the dangerous situation of the crosswalks was finally being addressed by the College.

We have dealt with traffic dilemmas at Missouri Southern for years now, and I was hoping it would not take a fatality to finally get something done to change the situation.

Several administrators had told me that a walkover bridge had been discussed as a solution to the traffic on Duquesne Road. This idea was overruled after those involved in the decision felt it was too costly and would not be used by the students anyway. It was thought that students would just go around the bridge, so why waste the money?

Then the problem was finally re-addressed this last year with the idea that traffic lights were the answer to all the problems.

Well, in the case of the crossing of Newman Road, I do believe the light has made the situation a little better. Now, drivers have to stop for the light, which allows students to cross Newman Road, as long as they watch for the vehicles turning left from out of the College, for they have the same light and time slot as the students.

This is somewhat of an improvement over the haphazard, leave-it-to-the-driver’s discretion whether or not to stop to allow students to cross and keeps the students crossing in timed sequences, so vehicles do not have to wait for student after student who wander up to the crosswalk one after the other.

But, the crossing of Duquesne is still a scary and frightening experience. First of all, the placement of this crossing has always been in a precarious spot.

You could not see the oncoming south traffic from the standpoint of the crossing area. Due to the hill hardly 50 feet away from the crossing, you couldn’t see any oncoming vehicles until they were right on you.

Now, with the light, it helps that there is an actual stoplight for traffic instead of a yellow blinking light, so a pedestrian can feel a little more assured that they will not get hit by a car or truck. But a pedestrian must still watch out for vehicles turning left and right out of the parking lots, for they are timed to go at the same time. This, combined with the amount of activity that takes place at this intersection which includes both parking lots, pedestrian crossing from four directions, and the through traffic of Duquesne, combined with the traffic of the Southern games, there is still a lot of congestion.

Most of all though, I and many others are concerned over the concrete barriers in the middle of the road.

I have been told that they were installed to ensure that students would not be able to jaywalk and be forced to use the crosswalk. Well, I think that a wire fence, just like the one next to the parking lots, would have made a much better choice than to put up huge, scary concrete blocks, that are not only intimidating, but further block the view of the traffic to pedestrians and vehicles alike.