During the Weber State University Student Senate meeting on Monday, Dane LeBlanc, the chief of the WSU Police Department, came in to speak about safety issues on campus. He said he plans on reducing speeds and putting in crosswalk signs around campus.
LeBlanc said the areas of the biggest concern are the intersection by the tennis courts, where the road meets Taylor Avenue, and the crosswalk by the Hurst Center. The campus police have put in a formal request to UDOT to study the speed in the problem areas.
LeBlanc said he plans to put in a new crosswalk sign by the Hurst Center crosswalk and asked the senate what type of sign should go there. He recommended a speed radar sign, which will show drivers their speed as they pass the sign. Any sign will cost about $10,000, which will mostly come from the police department budget.
“My building is right there and looks out over that area, and it is I-15 of pedestrians crossing right there,” he said. “You not only have all the housing which is coming out right there; you’ve got the Hurst Center over there. Those employees walk back and forth to campus, and there is just a lot of traffic in that campus.”
LeBlanc said he plans to reduce the speed in that area, but said he would also like to reduce the speed limit across campus. He said he wants to get the speed limit down to 25 around campus and 15 around the crosswalks.
“If the speed limit is 20, they are going to do 25 or 30; if the speed limit is 20, 25 they are going to do,” LeBlanc said. “Everybody is going to do five or 10 miles an hour to get away with just as much as they can.”
The senate proposed putting a crosswalk across 4100 South by the tennis courts as well as a crosswalk sign. LeBlanc said he stops cars every day at the crosswalks on campus for violations. If a car is stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian, the cars in the other lanes must stop as well.
“I think one of the really big issues is just getting people to stop in general,” said Mina Eastes, the College of Business and Economics senator. “I’ll be walking there and I just wait for the car to go by, because I know they’re not going to stop. Not just on campus — other places, nobody stops. I feel like reducing the speed will help them focus more on that.”
LeBlanc said the crosswalk has been the biggest problem with pedestrians almost being hit by cars.
“I’ll tell you what is scary for us is that people are walking through these crosswalks and these intersections looking at their iPhones,” LeBlanc said. “Our near misses have increased this year almost twofold.”
Viviana Felix, the Hispanic student senator, said she was concerned about people being seen when they use the crosswalk at night.
“Some pedestrians will stand right there and I don’t know how they are going to cross, because yeah, they may see the car slow down, but what if the car doesn’t see them?”
The senate and LeBlanc decided it would be best to use both a speed monitor and a crosswalk sign with lights that flash once the pedestrian pushes a button. If they cannot do both, they will put in a speed monitor sign.