Editorial: Curbing pedestrian accidents on campus
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 02:10
Over the course of the last several years, the Department of Public and Environmental Safety (DPES) launched an extensive effort to improve pedestrian safety measures at Tufts. Campus has been treated to new signage, freshly painted crosswalks, safety videos and even an entire Safety Awareness Week. DPES, in collaboration with the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) and the university administration, hired Nitsch Engineering, a safety consulting firm, to analyze problematic campus intersections, collect data and provide recommendations on how to make them safer for pedestrians and motorists alike. However, the department has not stopped there — this year they have continued to work with TUPD and external agencies to implement even more safety measures. DPES should be praised for its tireless attempts at keeping the Tufts community safe and sound.
Among the improvements for pedestrians — which range from trimming trees to installing new traffic lights — the most significant is the work completed on the intersection at Powderhouse Boulevard and Packard Avenue, the site of a serious pedestrian accident last fall. DPES and the City of Somerville successfully transformed the intersection into a four-way stop and plans to extend the curbing, which will help improve line -of-sight for everyone navigating the crossing. The only negative is the loss of a few parking spaces, but considering the intersection’s proximity to the tennis court parking area, it is certainly a fair trade-off.
Given Tufts’ location at the edge of Boston, the roadways on and around campus tend to be congested throughout the day and into the evening. Coupled with a large number of intersections and several blind turns, pedestrians must stay perpetually alert when crossing the street. Cell phones, iPods, books and friends are the most obvious sources of distraction that could lead to injury.
Despite the array of new safety measures on campus, however, there are no foolproof safeguards against human negligence and bad driving. Help DPES help us, and look both ways before you cross.