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Editorial: Permanent solutions necessary to protect student safety

Issue date: 9/3/10 Section: Opinion
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President Snyder's e-mail regarding a student hit by a car was a chilling way to begin the academic year here at Case Western Reserve University. Of course, we're all very relieved that the student was treated immediately, and we hope he recovers as soon so that he can rejoin campus as a student and not a victim of a regrettable accident.

While we acknowledge that there is certainly something to be said for personal responsibility and looking both ways before crossing the street, it is outrageous that a motorist would not yield to a student on a bike in the middle of a clearly marked crosswalk. Cleveland streets are particularly unfriendly to cyclists - most streets have no bike lanes, and many are narrow and lack sidewalks. It is unfortunate that the university has never explicitly addressed the needs of cyclists on campus, but we hope that, in the wake of this accident, cyclists will come forward with suggestions for improving bicycle awareness and safety and that the university will consider some sort of bicycle safety policy for the campus's benefit.

However, developing such a program is not the only step that the university should take. President Snyder's e-mail also addressed two separate incidents of near-hits at the corner of Euclid and Adelbert Roads. This intersection is simply a mess and is dangerous to navigate even with Officer Mark Chavisputting his own safety at risk trying to protect students, faculty, and staff from oncoming traffic. Certainly one course of action would be to build a footbridge from the north side of Euclid to the corner of the Binary Walkway so that students could avoid crossing the street altogether. Several cities, including Youngstown and Lakewood, have used such structures, in the interest of public safety.

The city of Cleveland should also take note. Drivers on Euclid Avenue need to be barred from turning right on red onto Adelbert. The city should also provide additional lighting and signage at the Adelbert crosswalk in front of Adelbert Hall (the site of the accident). Finally, CWRU should consider having the crosswalk moved roughly 20 feet east from its present location, so that students may crossed directly from Euclid Avenue to the Binary Walkway. This would definitely decrease the likelihood of accidents or near-accidents.

Finally, we strongly encourage students to listen to president Snyder's request and watch out for each other. Certainly a university president shouldn't have to send out an e-mail reminding us to look both ways before crossing the street, but it bears repeating. As long as the traffic patterns remain the same and there is no alternative route for crossing the street, we can never be guaranteed safety. For a university with a global reputation for excellence in engineering and problem-solving, it is bewildering that CWRU would settle for such crude solutions to these problems.
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    Brian

    posted 9/04/10 @ 11:06 AM EST

    The sidewalk was across from the binary before Euclid reconstruction. It was closed on purpose during the redesign. Not sure what the reasoning was.

    What is Cleveland's laws on bicycle on sidewalks? In come cities, bikers must walk their bike through crosswalks because it prevents a bikers from approaching an intersection to quickly and not be seen by turning cars. (Continued…)

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