The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
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Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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Students see improved safety with long-awaited crosswalk

A new illuminated crosswalk at the blind curve located at Airline Road and Daniel Avenue is a welcome addition for students living adjacent to the intersection, including sorority members and transfer students. However, the project could have come sooner for several SMU co-eds who have fallen victim to careless drivers in the past several years.

The intersection has concerned students for nearly a decade, beginning in October 2001 when two females, both belonging to the Delta Delta Delta sorority, were struck and seriously injured in an early morning hit-and-run accident.

Katherine Gordon and Jacqueline Nochisaki were walking across the street when they were hit by a silver Jeep Cherokee and thrown 58 feet and 82 feet, respectively, from the point of impact. Each sustained a broken pelvis, scrapes, various internal injuries and head trauma that required transportation to area hospitals. Both were forced to withdraw from classes for the remainder of the term to recuperate.

Last semester, Student Body Vice President Allison Reyes said that her roommate, also a member of Delta Delta Delta, was struck at the crossing.

“An old man hit her, not very hard really, and she fell on the ground,” Reyes said. “He helped her up and was very nice about it, but it does happen”

Drivers in the area prior to the construction saw flashing yellow pedestrian crossing warning signs well before the striped crossing area, but observers said few drivers slowed as they approached the crosswalk, even when students were about to cross.

The Texas Transportation Code states that pedestrians have the right-of-way when they occupy a designated crossing, like the one at Airline and Daniel. Some drivers simply ignore the law, while others say poor lighting conditions after dark may obscure pedestrians waiting at the crossing.

At the new crosswalk, pedestrians must press a button on a bollard that activates yellow flashing LED signs above the crosswalk, as well as flashing yellow lights bordering the striped pavement. It will not activate automatically when people are present.

Similar installations exist between the Dedman School of Law and the law school parking garage on Daniel Avenue, as well as at the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.
The installation phase of the project began in December 2009 at the end of the fall academic term.

Tricia Mehis, a senior project manager for SMU Planning, Design and Construction, who oversaw the project said there are still a few loose ends to be resolved, but that the recessed pavement lights and activation controls mounted on bollards at all four corners are fully operational.

Mehis said the project was designed to improve student safety at the crossing, but denied that any particular incident triggered the renovation of the crosswalk at the end of 2009.
Although SMU and the city of University Park’s traffic division collaborated on the installation, SMU picked up the entire $140,000 tab. 

Patrick Kobler, SMU’s student body president, said he recalls the issue of the crosswalk being a perennial issue for Student Senate candidates for many years. He is glad to finally see it installed, as are the sorority women that he has spoken to about the project.

“The sorority women I’ve talked to are very happy about it, and say they have noticed a difference (since the installation)—cars slowing down and even stopping already,” he said.
Kobler said he also thinks that the timing of the project was positive for Greek recruitment, which concluded this past weekend.
 

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