It’s 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday morning and you’re already late to class. You pull up to the intersection of Dean Nicholson Boulevard and Walnut Street. You nervously glance at your watch as students file past and you wait another 10 minutes before you can make a left turn. This is a horribly busy intersection with students and drivers. The university needs to install an overpass over the road to help manage the flow of pedestrians and traffic.
I have found myself waiting in this intersection many times. Students walking or riding bikes move in a steady flow from the free parking by Tomlinson Stadium to class. Sitting here has made my wife and me late to our classes and has wasted time getting from point A to point B in Ellensburg.
Not only do I have to wait, but the other cars at the intersection wait as well. By the time there is an opening to go, cars will usually forget who was supposed to go next.
CWU should consider installing two pedestrian pathways over Dean Nicholson Boulevard, one on each side of the intersection. Yakima Valley College has an overpass over Nob Hill Boulevard for its students. This connects one half of campus to the other. Nob Hill can be quite busy, and if students had to use the crosswalks, nobody would ever get to their next class on time. Whenever I used the accompanying crosswalks at Yakima Valley College, I still had to be mindful of people that wouldn’t stop. I found the overpass to be quite helpful and safe.
A simple overpass wide enough for two or three people to walk abreast would be sufficient. A ramp would be best so that students riding bikes or needing walking assistance can get over easily. It could even look like the bridges over the canal on campus. This could add to the aesthetic of campus overall and even be used for photos and promotional use for the university.
Having walkways over this intersection could also help with parking. Being able to walk or ride a bike from the free parking on the north side of campus and use the overpass could promote sensible parking. This could also prevent people from receiving unnecessary parking tickets. Not to mention, this could cut down on how busy some lots on campus can be.
If the university doesn’t put in an overpass, they can at least install flashing lights like those near other crosswalks on campus. This would help with safety, especially at night. When I drive around campus, I often cannot see some students because of the darker clothing they are wearing. Those other crosswalks, like the ones between Brooks Library and Dugmore Hall, have the ability to flash brightly and incessantly to let drivers know that someone is using the crosswalk. This could be especially useful after football, volleyball and basketball games if installed instead of an overpass.
So the next time you are
sitting at that intersection, waiting for a long line of students to walk past, think about how much quicker it would be if there was an overpass there. And if you’re driving late at night, keep an eye out for pedestrians walking across the street. If the lack of flashing signage and safe means of getting over the roadway frustrates you as much as it does me, you need to make a couple of calls. One to the school to let them know you want an overpass put in. The second one needs to go to me, so we can get the ball rolling as a team!