Editorial – Safety at UPJ: hop out of the way

Pitt-Johnstown is a campus for the imperiled. A lack of speed-limit signs, crosswalks and a way of enforcing safety laws for pedestrians and drivers can result in something like a racetrack for people trying to get where they’re going in the least amount of time.

Add EZ Go carts careening on the walkways and you have a mixture that might develop dodging skills among students.

Both Highfield Avenue and Kunk’s Drive feature pedestrians crosing at nearly any point and cars backing onto the roadway from precious parking spots. The speed limit on Highfield Avenue is 35 miles per hour.

It’s difficult and dangerous to back out of those spots. Vehicles on either side of the parking space leave drivers with minimal views as they take a chance.

One must simply cross his or her fingers and hope that vehicles have time to slow down or at least swerve.

But not everyone drives. Some students who live in the College Park Apartments, the Campus Commons or Bloomfield Apartments walk to class.

There are no sidewalks, so students often opt for walking on the nonexistent shoulder of Schoolhouse Road, rather than walking in frequently wet and muddy grass.

Some students also walk to Sheetz and Walmart for tobacco and other products not offered on campus.

Not only are sidewalks nonexistent, but crosswalks are, too. Did university and township officials really think nobody would ever need to cross the street from the Campus Commons?

The shuttle service could also help decrease foot traffic by employing longer hours so students who have afternoon or evening classes don’t have to walk.

The shuttle currently runs from 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Most students don’t sign up for classes that early unless they have to. It would be safer to have the shuttle run when it’s dark and dreary.

Other areas of concern are the townhouse parking lots. They are so cramped that a person wouldn’t have to try too hard to have a bumper- car episode, especially with snow and ice on skinny pathways.

Also, the arrows in those lots signal that they are one way. However, the arrows are so faded that it is difficult to determine which direction is the right one way.

We have ways to keep people safe while partying, but what about simple, everyday toils?

If someone appears too drunk, that person is transported to Windber Medical Center. If an individual encounters trouble on campus, there are emergency buttons that will prompt campus police to respond.

But there is no help for the person trying to back out into the fast lane. That needs to change.