October 4, 2002

Cornell Empowers Pedestrians

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The University Transportation Advisory Committee recently enacted a regulation declaring that no vehicles may drive through a crosswalk if a pedestrian takes even one step inside of it.

The rule was recently passed as New York state law but cannot officially be enforced as such until 180 days after its passing, which will be mid-January.

The committee, however, chose to include it in the Campus Code of Conduct before that time.

“Why delay until January something of such great benefit to the campus?” said Patrick Savolskis, chair of the


At the moment, police will address a violation of the new regulation with a referral to the Judicial Administration. Once the code becomes state law, they will be handing out tickets to the offenders.

The current rule states that a vehicle may pass through a crosswalk as long as there are no pedestrians walking on its side of the street.

The committee hopes that the new law will discourage vehicular traffic through campus, especially during class changes and other high pedestrian-density times.

“Pedestrians have their right of way in their half of the roadway,” said David Lieb ’89, communication and marketing manager of transportation and mail services. The new policy is, “just taking out the ‘half,'” he said.

Suzanne Stachiks ’05 said she avoids driving on campus because of the pedestrian traffic and, instead, she takes the side roads.

Members of the Cornell community vary in their views concerning crosswalk safety.

“I think drivers could definitely take steps toward being more respectful,” said Geoffrey Ream, grad.

Dan Adsit ’06, drives on campus and finds the pedestrians sometimes to be too careless. He said that he believes pedestrians crossing the street do not always give drivers enough time to yield.

“People walk out on the road too much without looking where they’re going. I’ve had to slam on my breaks a couple of times,” he said.

Though Cornellians have mixed opinions on the pedestrian-driver conflict, the general consensus on the new rule seems positive.

“It’s good to make sure no one gets hurt. Safety should be the first priority,” Adsit said.

Stachiks also supports the stricter regulation for vehicles.

“I think it’s a good idea. I think most of the cars [abide by the regulation] anyway,” she said.

Though this regulation is directed towards drivers, the Transportation Advisory Committee stresses responsibility on the part of both the pedestrian and driver.

“It’s easy for cars to avoid driving through campus if they want to,” Ream said. “It’s unreasonable for them to insist on crossing though campus and driving too fast.”

Archived article by Amy Green