Do or Die on Rockhill Road

Students Voice Their Concerns Over a Crosswalk Located at Campus on Rockhill Road

It can be a treacherous journey from Miller Nichols Library to Katz Hall for UMKC students.

Soffia Hernandez, Staff Writer

   A student comes to a sudden and harsh halt while making an indecent hand gesture at a driver, as the black sedan zips straight through the crosswalk.

  It’s no stretch that students had a lot to say when asked about the crosswalk in front of Katz Hall. 

  Located on Rockhill Road, the crosswalk only hails a single yellow blinking light, which many drivers fail to adhere to.  

  Alayna Lopez, a senior and English major at UMKC, voiced her concerns during her class in the Katz Hall building. 

  “It’s do or die,” Lopez said.  

  Amidst Lopez’s revelation, the classroom erupted in laughter. One by one, a different person squealed over their own “near-death experience” that happened while crossing the infamous stretch. 

  Who would have known that such a debilitating experience would turn out to be a uniting one?  

  The tricky crossing poses unique challenges for one university student, who suffers from severe vision impairment and is blind in one eye. Senior English major Garrett Menees explains how he often must rely on the movement of others, and trust that oncoming traffic will stop per the yielding light and sign.  

  When asked if the crosswalk made him nervous, Menees readily answered.

  “Every day. In particular, because I’m visually impaired,” Menees said. “So, I’m really reliant on the herd. Just whoever’s around me at the time.”

  A particular point of concern circulates the large curve coming from the side closest to Cherry st, which prevents students and drivers alike from seeing too far ahead. 

  Senior English major Angela Lombardino expressed her doubts over the safety of the crosswalk, too.  

  “In no way are the cars forced to stop,” Lombardino said. “Also, [the crosswalk] comes right after a curve. One time, I was already halfway through the crosswalk when a car drove right in front of me.” 

  Ella Whitfield, a freshman English major, recalled her close encounter on the tricky crossing. 

  “I was heading to my science fiction class, and I looked to my right and there’s a car heading straight towards me,” Whitfield said. “I couldn’t tell if they were braking, but it looked like they were speeding up. I started to run, and they drove straight through.”

  Because Rockhill road is not centrally located on campus, many students doubt anything can be done, but are still hopeful that some changes will be made. Currently, there have been no complaints filed with the university regarding the crosswalk.

  Campus Police Chief Mike Bongartz hopes students will be mindful and vigilant while crossing Rockhill road and urges students to take precautions.

  Such measures include yielding to traffic, stopping before crossing, looking both ways, paying attention, not stepping out if there is a quickly approaching vehicle, making eye contact with drivers before going into the street and only walking on marked crosswalks. 

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