Students question safety of Cleveland crosswalk
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
After waiting for long periods of time to walk across Cleveland Avenue at the crosswalk near Wilbur Street, senior Sarah McLoughlin usually gives up and heads to the traffic light at North College Avenue, she said.
McLoughlin lives on Prospect Avenue and encounters Cleveland traffic on a daily basis. She said she feels safe crossing the street a majority of the time, except during rush hour when there is rarely a break in traffic or at night when she doubts the drivers’ ability to see pedestrians.
“Cars don’t stop at the crosswalk unless you walk out there first,” McLoughlin said. “They actually don’t stop. I think ‘okay, the law, does that matter?’”
Senior Candace Chau said she also becomes frustrated with the crosswalk. Chau, who lives in the Varsity Apartments on Wilbur Street, said she feels unsafe during rush hour when cars frequently speed and the road becomes too congested to cross.
Chau said she sometimes has to “force her way” across the street because she estimates about one in thirty drivers will stop or slow down for pedestrian.
“Sometimes I get reckless and dart between vehicles when I grow impatient,” Chau said. “I’m from NYC so it’s kind of a habit.”
In December 2011, two students were struck by a vehicle on East Cleveland Avenue at of Paper Mill Road when they darted into the roadway, according to a Newark Police Department press release. The driver had the right-of-way and was not charged, though the students were injured and taken to the hospital.
Cpl. James Spadola of the Newark Police Department said the department isn’t aware of any complaints about the ignored crosswalk. Delaware Department of Transportation and the City Council would be in charge of initiating any change to the crosswalk, such as a new traffic light, Spadola said.
The most recent ticket for the violation of the right-of-way in crosswalks at the East Cleveland Avenue and Wilbur Street crosswalk was one issued in 2011, Spadola said. The law states if there are no traffic control signals in place or operation, drivers must yield by slowing or stopping at the crosswalk when a pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway or approaching the half of the roadway which the vehicle is traveling.
Spadola said the Newark Police Department has a traffic unit of four officers who enforce traffic laws when they observe any violations.
“Patrol officers also routinely stop and ticket drivers as well as pedestrians for violations committed,” Spadola said.
McLoughlin said she does not think there is an easy solution to the issues pedestrians face when crossing Cleveland Avenue. More traffic lights would probably cause more traffic, she said.
Giving more tickets might not help because then more tickets might be given for jaywalking, McLoughlin said.
Chau said a way to improve the situation is to put a camera in the vicinity to monitor cars and pedestrian encounters.
“Pedestrians have the right of way, but cars hardly care,” said Chau. “If police offers are okay with dishing out a bunch of jay-walking tickets to college students every other month they should be just as concerned with their safety if students are actually following the rules and crossing at crosswalks.”
According to Spadola, out of the 70 accidents on the stretch of Cleveland Ave in 2012, four involved pedestrians. The year before, none of the accidents on Cleveland involved pedestrians, and so far there have been eight accidents in 2013, none involving pedestrians.