Towson police push new crosswalk safety
Towson has one of the lowest crime rates in the University System of Maryland, and the Towson University Police Department is now focusing on pedestrian safety.
Cpl. John Ross in the patrol division of TUPD said all crosswalks are areas of concern.
Ross said that not only are the police going to start reinforcing actions by ticketing jaywalkers, but they are also planning to start an education campaign for pedestrian safety on campus.
“Our goal is to have officers at crosswalks at various times throughout the semester,” Ross said. “Rather than issue a traffic ticket, we will issue safety literature and safety tips, with the idea that safety will catch on. Our hope is not to get anyone in trouble, but to make sure that everyone will be safe.”
Cross Campus Drive particularly is the area with the biggest problem, especially when students are heading to and from the Center for the Arts.
“The most common complaints are from motorists,” Ross said. “Pedestrians don’t make sure that the car stops. Even though they have the right of way, they don’t even look.”
Junior mass communication major Erin Smith said she believes that from a driver’s perspective, many pedestrians do not always think when crossing the street.
“They usually don’t pay attention to the ‘Walk Now’ sign which isn’t safe, especially at night,” she said. “There have been plenty of times where it has been dark out and I could barely see someone in the road because they were wearing dark colors. I’ve never seen anything dangerous because people always seem to have the ability to stop, but I know people who have been affected by dangerous acts.”
Ross recently wrote a piece for the Towson Tigers Today blog, which provided safety information for pedestrians and motor vehicle operators, as well as facts and statistics concerning safety on the road.
Some safety tips for pedestrians include “Don’t text and walk,” “Cross roadways only at designated crosswalks,” and “Look before walking past stopped vehicles.”
“The most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings—look both ways,” Ross said. “Vehicles have to come to a complete stop and that takes a certain amount of distance. Really, our primary concern is to make sure the campus and community are safe.”
In the past few years, Ross said that there have been instances of accidents in Towson where students were struck by a vehicle. A bicyclist was struck by a car entering Cross Campus Drive, according to Ross, and a pedestrian was hit on a roadway in front of Prettyman and Scarborough. Neither was seriously injured.
For more information about pedestrian safety, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (nhtsa.gov/Pedestrians), Maryland State Highways Administration (sha.maryland.gov), the TUPD website (towson.edu/police.edu) or stop by TUPD and pick up copies of safety information.