Campus Police Look to Increase Pedestrian Safety After Accident

For one commuter student, the start of the fall 2012 school semester began with an accident which placed her in the hospital.

According to a Times Herald Record press release, “a SUNY New Paltz student was critically injured when she was struck by a car” on the morning of Aug. 31.

The victim was identified as a female commuter student (her name was not released) who was hit by a van traveling east on Hasbrouck Avenue, SUNY New Paltz Police Chief, David Dugatkin, said. She was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and was reported to be in “critical condition” as of 10 a.m. Friday, he said.

“She is expected to make a full recovery,” Dugatkin said.

The incident has not changed anything at Hasbrouck, but Dugatkin said the accident has brought more awareness to the safety of student pedestrians.

Currently, there are yield signs in crosswalks. In addition, the campus purchased a flashing traffic sign, but it is being housed through the University Police Department (UPD), Dugatkin said.

“The college has in fact purchased a flashing, movable traffic sign, that we can place pretty much anywhere we need to, whether it be a road on the campus or any of the roads surrounding it,” he said. “We can change the messages as we need to as well. This allows us to let the drivers know that there’s a cross walk coming up, that they’re in speed zones and basic safety awareness so that they know there are pedestrians crossing the road.”

The parking lot closures this semester have expanded to Route 32 lot, where many commuters have to walk across a main state road to get to class. Dugatkin said  UPD is increasing security in those areas to ensure pedestrian safety. As the lots extend further out and students continue to cross the street to get to class, flashing lights may be put on existing yield signs to further student safety.

Katie Maus, a fourth-year English major and commuter student crosses Route 32 from her apartment at the Ridge twice a day to get to class. She said that overall, she feels safe crossing the street, but cars do fail to yield to her in the cross walk.

“Some [cars] do [stop]. Some tend to disregard it,” Maus said.

In response to the college’s idea of placing flashing yield signs at crosswalks, Maus said that it could be a good idea, but not entirely necessary.

“It’s not 100 percent necessary, but it would be helpful,” Maus said.

Dugatkin reminds drivers to stay within the speed limit and that any violations, failure to yield or speeding, will result in a ticket, leading to a court order and fine.


Caterina De Gaetano

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