Thursday, February 9, 2023

Motorists to yield to new traffic signs

September 7, 2001
A pedestrian crosses Shaw Lane in front of the International Center on Thursday afternoon. The university has recently taken steps to make pedestrian traffic safer by placing yield signs in the middle of crosswalks. —

Rajnish Sharma is getting a little help crossing the street.

Yield to pedestrian signs were placed in the middle of the roadway Tuesday at crosswalks on Shaw Lane, between Farm Lane and Red Cedar Road.

“People do stop their cars when they see signs and let you go,” said Sharma, an environmental engineering graduate student.

The signs are part of a study by university traffic engineers and engineering students, said Mike Rice, MSU police deputy chief.

Last week, the study monitored drivers’ behavior without the signs, and now data is being collected with them.

“Anecdotal evidence shows that motorists are paying more attention to crosswalks because of the signs,” Rice said. “The hope is that attention will continue.”

Rice said a plan for pedestrian safety on campus will be presented to the All-University Traffic Committee next week. The study will provide data for the plan.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday in the community room of the Department of Police and Public Safety Building.

Rice said the signs will only be in place during the daytime and may be moved to different locations such as Farm Lane after the study is concluded.

“Signs will be moved from location to location based on the traffic accident data and information gathered in the first part of the study,” he said.

Pre-vet freshman Emily Love said she doubts the effectiveness of the signs after more than six cars drove by her.

“I hope it brings awareness but I don’t think it will,” she said.

Jeff Kacos, director of Campus Park and Planning, said the signs are part of a new program for making drivers aware of pedestrian rights.

“If we are moving towards a more pedestrian friendly campus, we are going to need to educate drivers,” he said. “It is an ordinance on campus that cars must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, but I am not sure if drivers are aware of that.”

Jim Block, a computer engineering senior, said he was concerned the signs may create more danger for pedestrians.

“I would be worried people will start walking without seeing if cars will stop first and maybe some people will get hit,” he said.

David Homa said he doesn’t take any chances walking out alone in front of cars.

“It seems that there is safety in numbers, if you have five or six people and all of you step off at once, the cars will stop,” the bioscience junior said.

“But if you are by yourself, whoosh!”

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