Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Traffic Light at Intersection where Mike was hit.

Construction protects students from harm
The intersection of Main and Whiton Streets is finally getting a stoplight. The construction started last week and the pedestrian yield sign that previously hung over Main Street will be replaced.

Anyone who used the crosswalk knows how dangerous crossing the street was. For whatever reason, cars didn’t adhere to the crosswalk and ignored pedestrians even though many pedestrians pushed the button that activated the yield sign’s flashing yellow lights.

Three years ago, former UW-Whitewater student Michael Chaloupka was killed after being struck by a car in the crosswalk; the city has been trying to get funding for the construction ever since. Last March, another student was hit by a car while trying to cross the same intersection.

It is puzzling why drivers continue to cruise past the crosswalk with minimal concern for those on foot. A student had pressed the button, which activated the blinking yield sign.

After waiting several seconds and still not having any cars slow down, the student stepped into the road tentatively. As the student crossed the first lane, the traffic in lanes two, three and four continued to cruise along without slowing down. This pattern continued as the dangerous journey across the road was completed.

This dangerous game is eerily similar to Frogger, except the consequences of losing are more sinister. College campuses are teaming with students on foot, and drivers should be taking caution with that in mind.

While some drivers may argue that pedestrians dart out from a crosswalk sometimes, being aware of the crosswalk is the driver’s responsibility. Once the construction is complete, which is expected to be sometime in early November, pedestrians will be safer.

This time the government saved the day. While we often criticize the government for things like taxes, politicians not keeping promises or failing to fix the economy, we must remind that they help us out, too.

On average, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic accident every eight minutes according to the National Highway Traffic Association. With this statistic in mind, use caution when crossing the street. If a student gets hit by a car, it does not mean they will get free tuition. If you are driving, make sure you are looking for pedestrians, especially when driving near a college campus such as UW-Whitewater.

Pedestrians must take caution while crossing the street and drivers must watch out for their fellow classmates while driving around the city. After all, pedestrians are vulnerable.

There’s a reason they look both ways.