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

Sorority cross walk coming to campus

Late one Tuesday night, as Sarah Treis and Kelsey McGaw were walking home from class, they were forced to jump back onto the sidewalk behind them after nearly being run over while trying to cross the dangerous curve, known fondly as sorority crosswalk.

“It was scary-I couldn’t tell whether or not they could see me,” said Treis, a junior advertising major at SMU.

This wasn’t the first time Treis and McGaw have had to make the split-second decision of jumping back or dashing across the street to avoid getting hit.

How many times have you darted across as cars round the curve at full speed? How many nights have you broken into a sprint because you know the car coming doesn’t see you? Walking home, day or night, has become a life and death feat many SMU sorority women battle on a daily basis.

The funny thing is, this problem shouldn’t still exist. Last year, and even the year before, candidates running for student government campaigned to make the crosswalk safer for their sorority row inhabiting constituents. But still nothing of visibility has been done, leaving many sorority row inhabitants wondering not just “why?” but “who is to blame?”

Last April, Sarah Acosta, current junior and SMU Greek affiliate, brought a measure concerning sorority crosswalk before the Student Senate. Acosta asked the senate to approve the installation of a light-up crosswalk, which they did.

Soon after Acosta’s proposal was approved, then Student Body President, Katherine Tullos appealed to the University. The university agreed something needed to be done to improve the crosswalk’s safety.

Bob Casagrande, SMU Director of Facility Services, requested a preliminary survey be done to determine the possibility and cost of a lighted crosswalk, not only at the intersection of Daniel Avenue and Airline Road, but the crosswalk stretching across Daniel as well

“There were a number of folks who had to be contacted to determine desire, feasibility, practicality as well as estimating the costs and identifying funding availability. All of that is now complete or nearly complete,” said Casagrande.

“This is an important step for two reasons. One, it will formalize the process, and two; it will provide the necessary data to submit for funding application,” Casagrande said last April.

The university has acknowledged the problem and taken steps to fix the crosswalk, so why, many students ask, haven’t any actual improvements been made?

Crosswalk improvements don’t fall under the university’s jurisdiction, they fall under University Park. So, students ask, “Why aren’t they doing anything?”

They are.

Since the proposal was approved by SMU, steps have been taken to gain approval from University Park.

The “[University Park] Public Works Department has reviewed plans for the proposed improvement” and is forwarding their notes to Ron Russell, a member of the SMU Planning and Plant Operations Department, sometime this week, said University Park Community Information Officer Steve Mace.

Mace also indicated the crosswalk proposal had been reviewed by a University Park traffic engineer who made one code-related modification. The addition of lights to crosswalks that are controlled by stop signs is against code. This means the crosswalk across Daniel Avenue cannot be lighted, but the rest of the proposal did meet code.

SMU will be required to make any changes dictated by the Public Works Department’s notes before formally submitting the proposal to the University Park Council for final approval. Since the proposal has not yet reached council, it is not available for public viewing.

But “the design work has been done and the project has been put out to bid. The actual construction is scheduled to occur during between the end of the fall semester and the beginning of spring semester,” said Casagrande.

So, sorority women will have to brave the crosswalk as is for the rest of semester, but look for a reprieve come spring because, a new lighted crosswalk, will be in place, making life a little safer and a little easier for all.

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