Letters to the editor

U-News Staff

Hey Mark,

I read your article in U-News. The opening paragraphs caught my attention because I was literally inches away from getting hit by car this last Feb. 14 around 9:30 a.m.

A woman in a red sedan sped around a line of cars that were stopped for me at the crosswalk between Miller Nichol’s and Katz [Rockhill Road]. As I looked down in anticipation of upcoming pot holes that are near the end of the crosswalk she suddenly appeared out of nowhere, bearing down on her horn, which may have been what saved me.

Do you know if there are plans to improve pedestrian safety at this location soon? I hear that in other cities drivers will get a ticket if they do not stop for a pedestrian who is standing on the side of the road even if there is no crosswalk.

It would be nice to have that here, so we all survive to graduate. Thanks for the article.

-Senior Peter Hahl

Mark’s response:

To answer this question, the university has what is called the UMKC Parking and Transportation Task Force, which released its most recent report in 2009.

The report focuses on the issues regarding mainly transportation, the fluidity of campus, and the safe environment for everyone on campus.

Here are a few statements taken from the report.

“Walkability is a major incentive for people on campus to walk to classes, meeting, lunch and other activities, rather than driving and incorporate walking as a part of their multi-modal commute,” the report says. “UMKC scored an A in categories of directness, completeness, visual interests, and amenities, security with a B in the category of the street crossing due to high motor traffic volume.”

According to the report, the effectiveness of the campus design can be seen to the North, East, and the West, including both Oak and Rockhill Streets.

“The campus was designed with walking students in mind, providing wide sidewalks, landscaping and visual amenities throughout,” the report continues to read.

“Students, staff and visitors alike know that the greatest challenge is crossing the streets to the adjacent areas of campus, except to the south which is more residential and has less motor traffic.”

At the time of the report, a plan was suggested to update the campus for pedestrians by observing the more problematic areas along Volker Blvd.

The plan also gave three years for incorporating walkability into Rockhill Road; provide pedestrian refuge along Volker Blvd, Brookside Blvd, Rockhill Road, and Troost Ave.

“As the campus continues to grow, the UMKC Master Plan is placing even more emphasis on pedestrian accessibility with plans to close street traffic on 51st Street between Troost and Cherry Streets,” the 2009 report says.

This report can be found at this link:

www.umkc.edu/adminfinance/parking/images/pdfs/task%20force/Parking-and-Transportation-Task-Force-Report-August-2009.pdf.

For more safety tips and information, see Page 6 for Crime Prevention Officer Patrick Tedesco.

 

Mr. Linville,

I just caught a glimpse of your article on pedestrian safety in the February 21 [issue of] U-News.

I really feel you were remiss, especially with pedestrian tips by not mentioning the excessive use of phone texting by students.

They have no clue where they are and what is meandering about them.

If students are getting struck by cars that often, then it is not totally drivers [fault].

I was always taught to look both ways before crossing the street.

Of course that was before the wonderful world of texting and the addiction it has become.

Many a time I’ve driven through the parking lot waiting to get past a student who has no idea that they are blocking traffic.

Next time you decide to write an article on pedestrian safety you might want to caution people to get a clue and “hang up,” so they can watch where they’re going.

Just my two cents.

-Teresa L. Gipson,

Library Information Specialist II