- Letters to Editor
By JACOB BLAIR
Even with the new pedestrian bridge linking Lancaster Lot and the Grand Campus apartments to Eastern’s main campus, students are still jaywalking across Lancaster Avenue, putting themselves and drivers in danger.
Eastern’s Police Chief Brian Mullins said the most complaints about jaywalking on campus were from the area where the pedway is located.
“People have always talked about a pedway being there,” Mullins said. “I see a lot of people using it.”
University Police officers have the authority to issue citations for jaywalking across Lancaster and other streets on or adjacent to campus.
Police Lt. Brandon Collins said for three weeks at the beginning of the semester, police officers were verbally warning jaywalkers. After the three weeks had passed, Collins said officers began to issue citations for illegally crossing the street. As of press time, he said that 32 citations had been issued for jaywalking by the pedway on Lancaster Avenue.
“In the past, the argument was that it was too far to walk [to cross at Barnes Mill Road or Crabbe Street],” Collins said. “Now there’s this overpass, they [students] have an alternative.”
The pedestrian bridge was built during the construction of the Grand Campus at Yorick Place apartments. Grand Campus partnered with the university and paid for half of the bridge across a 15-year lease.
Construction was complete in July giving students a safe way to get on campus from the Lancaster Lot as soon as classes started. But students continue to cross the street.
Clayton Carson, 21, middle grade education major from Louisville, said he uses the bridge frequently.
“I live in the new apartments so I use it every morning and every night,” Carson said.
Carson does not understand why people aren’t using the new bridge.
“I think it’s senseless to be honest,” Carson said. “You have a newly built pedway and you’re not going to use it?”
Erica Ellis, 19, psychology major from Danville, said it’s typically not people from the apartments that are jaywalking.
“People from the [Lancaster] parking lot are the main ones,” Ellis said. “It seems to be illogical since there’s a safe way to cross without dodging traffic.
If students don’t want to walk up two and a half flights of stairs to the top, there are elevators on each side next to the stairs. Students can also cross Lancaster Avenue legally and safely at the intersection of Barnes Mill Road behind Combs Hall.
Michael Deaton, student government association ethics administrator, lives in the apartments and said there is no excuse for students to jaywalk.
“Last year as a jaywalker myself, I thought it was OK,” said Deaton. “But now that they’ve built this nice overpass there’s no reason to be jaywalking. Stop being lazy, start doing some exercise and walk up some stairs. There’s no excuse. Stop breaking the law, start being good citizens.”
In addition to jaywalking, another issue with the pedestrian bridge is the difficulty for handicapped accessibility.
David Williams, director of facilities services, said care and maintenance of the pedway itself is a shared responsibility.
“We have security responsibility and we take care of the lighting,” Williams said.
Elevators are not currently serviced by Eastern. Williams said that the contract with Grand Campus leaves the developer and contractor responsible for the elevators that have a one-year warranty. After the one-year has passed, Eastern will take responsibility for servicing the elevators.
The elevator in the west tower of the pedestrian bridge was out of service earlier this month, but is operational again.
Another issue is the parking spot with the curb cut for handicapped accessibility in the Lancaster Lot.
Mark Jozefowicz, director of parking and transportation services, said metal vertical poles known as bollards would eventually be installed to block off the space to vehicles.
Williams said accessibility to the curb cut was a detail that fell through the cracks since Lancaster Lot wasn’t easily handicapped accessible until the pedway was installed.