TCU addresses pedestrian safety


By Mel Morris

A TCU police officer monitors the crosswalk at University Drive during class change. Photo by Cristian ArgeutaSoto.

TCU police officers have new assignment: ushering students through the crosswalks along South University Drive during peak crossing times.

The measure is part of an effort to prevent traffic from backing up when students cross against the light, said Adrian Andrews, the assistant vice chancellor for public safety.

Andrews said this was becoming a safety issue for pedestrians and drivers. The TCU police are working with a consulting group to study eight of TCU’s crosswalks, he said. Further decisions will be made after the conclusion of the study, which will last about one month.

“We put our heads together and decided the best thing we could do is to put officers out there during high traffic times, and make sure everyone can get where they’re going safely,” Andrews said.

Officers will be monitoring the crosswalks along University Drive 10 minutes before and after class change, Andrews said.

Officers will be patrolling crosswalks during “peak hours,” which is 10 minutes before and after class change. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, South University Drive is at “average” for pedestrian fatalities. 

Several years ago, the university threatened to ticket jaywalkers. But Andrews said ticketing students is not the priority; their safety is.

“The police have the right to give tickets, but we don’t want to do that,” Andrews said. “My thought is that we are here to keep everyone safe. To this date, we have not given out one ticket yet.”

The assistance isn’t sitting well with some students.

Senior psychology major Sydney Vandermeer said that the lights are very long and that it is especially frustrating to wait for extended periods when there is little traffic present.

“Sometimes I don’t have time to wait five minutes when I’m trying to get to my next class,” Vandermeer said.

A spokesperson for the city of Fort Worth said pedestrians along University Drive should expect to wait 80 seconds and two minutes to cross, depending on traffic.

Andrews said he wants the city to shorten the light cycle when no cars are present. He said TCU and Fort Worth are discussing the timing of the traffic lights during peak traffic times.

His goal is to make the crosswalks more efficient for both drivers and pedestrians.

“We ask our young people to leave a little earlier, but we are going to work on the timing of the lights to make sure that it is more conducive to our students getting to their classes,” Andrews said.

Kendalyn Ferner, a junior communication major, said she appreciates the police presence at campus crosswalks.

“As a commuter, I appreciate the police presence when I’m driving through campus,” Ferner said. “I know that they’re keeping us safe, and it can get pretty scary sometimes. People would run across the street during green lights and it always made me nervous.”

Andrews encouraged people from the community, faculty, staff and students to reach out if the police presence is not working.