University launches Pedestrian Safety Initiative

Crossing+guards+will+be+implemented+this+fall.%0A%0APhoto+courtesy+of+Wikimedia
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University launches Pedestrian Safety Initiative

Crossing guards will be implemented this fall.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Crossing guards will be implemented this fall. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Crossing guards will be implemented this fall. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Crossing guards will be implemented this fall. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

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The university is planning to launch a Pedestrian Safety Initiative, Marquette University Police Department Chief Edith Hudson said.

The initiative’s purpose is to enforce safety on campus, particularly at busy intersections, according to the April news release.

Marquette has a history of accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians. Last September, a student suffered non-life threatening injuries after getting hit by a vehicle at the intersection of 17th and Wells Street, according to a Marquette Wire article from September. In January 2015, an international graduate student suffered serious injuries from a hit-and-run at the same intersection, as reported by the Wire.

The initiative involves employing students as pedestrian safety specialists, the news release said.

“Once hired, (pedestrian safety specialists) … will focus their efforts primarily on the campus intersections and crosswalks with the highest amounts of pedestrian and vehicular traffic,” university spokesperson Chris Stolarski said in an email.

Employed students will wear bright vests and carry whistles and hand stop signs to guide both pedestrians and drivers, the release said.

The pedestrian safety specialists are “a direct response to student feedback about the importance of pedestrian safety,” Lynn Griffith, senior director of university communication, said in an email.

The specialists will have a variety of responsibilities, according to the press release.

“These services will go above just crossing guard duties, with walking escorts available as needed,” Hudson said in the press release.

Student reactions to the news of the initiative have been mixed.

“I think (the initiative is) a good idea because there are definitely some students that make some questionable decisions when crossing the street, and there have been some pretty close calls,” Abigail Oye, a junior in the College of Nursing, said.

While Oye said she believes the initiative can be beneficial for both pedestrians and drivers, she said she has doubts about the effectiveness of implementing crossing guards.

“I just think it’s a matter of whether or not people will actually listen,” she said. “Most of the time people have in headphones, so they might not pay attention.”

Another program that enlists students to ensure their peers’ safety is the LIMO service, a transportation service that runs 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekdays and 5:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. on weekends. Additionally, students can call the MUPD non-emergency line to get rides home after LIMO hours end, and Blue Light phones across campus can be utilized to contact with MUPD for both emergency and non-emergency purposes.

Last fall, MUPD released EagleEye, an app that provides information on locations of Blue Light phones, safety contacts, emergency procedures, support resources and an option for users to share their location with a friend.

In addition to LIMOs, the Department of Campus Safety used to include the Student Safety Patrol, a group of students that served as walking escorts for students. The Student Safety Patrol was discontinued a few years ago due to low numbers of students using the service, Griffith said.

MUPD will be “repurposing resources from the Student Safety Patrol to support (the Student Safety Initiative),” Stolarski said in an email.

MUPD will be meeting with students this fall to collect input on the initiative, Griffith said.

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