In light of two pedestrian accidents around crosswalks in recent weeks, West Virginia University officials will undertake a comprehensive analysis relating to crosswalks on and around our campus.
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Rob Alsop said the University has already been working with city officials and will initiate additional conversations with city, county and state officials, including the Morgantown Pedestrian Safety Board, to discuss ways in which safety at crosswalks can be increased.
“We take seriously our responsibility to provide the safest environment for our students, whether it be in the classroom, in the residence hall or getting from one to another,” Alsop said. “While there are limits on what the University can do when state or city roadways are involved, we have good partners to work with at the city, county and state level. Together I know we will determine whether there are ways to improve safety relating to crosswalks.”
Alsop noted that although it was important to allow law enforcement to complete the investigations into the two accidents, it was also vital to undertake this review and to remind those driving and walking to be diligent and observant as they enter busy roadways near or on campus.
These activities and reminders come in the wake of a second pedestrian being struck by a vehicle, despite being in a crosswalk. A student was seriously injured in Tuesday’s incident, which occurred at the intersection of Monongahela Boulevard and Evansdale Drive. The Morgantown Police Department is investigating.
WVU student Leah Berhanu was killed Feb. 1 as she was crossing Patteson Drive near Evansdale Crossing. This previous accident is still under investigation.
“We do not yet know the cause of these accidents. As always, drivers and pedestrians alike need to be extremely alert in those places where cars and people often occupy the same place,” WVU Police Chief Bob Roberts said. “For example, pedestrians should remove their headphones and look up from their smart phones when approaching a cross walk. Drivers should watch for pedestrians standing at crosswalks. It’s especially important to remain vigilant when crosswalk or traffic lights are changing.”
Roberts added he is working with Morgantown Police Department to enhance law enforcement at strategic locations around campus.
In addition, the Student Government Association is hosting a Safety Walk this evening where students and community leaders will identify areas that may need additional safety measures for pedestrians.
“While those discussions are under way, please, please be alert, whether you are driving or walking,” Alsop said. “We have already paid too high a price.”