President Snyder’s e-mail regarding a student hit by a car was a chilling way to start off the academic year here at Case Western Reserve University. Of course, we’re all very relieved that the student had been immediately treated and we hope that he recovers as soon as possible so that he can rejoin his classmates and friends as a student and not a victim of a regrettable accident.
While we acknowledge that there is certainly something to be said for personal responsibility and always double-checking before you cross the street, it is outrageous that a motorist would not yield to a student on a bike in the middle of a clearly marked crosswalk. Cleveland streets are particularly unfriendly to cyclists – most streets have no bike lanes and many of the streets are narrow and have few sidewalks. It’s unfortunate that the university has ever really explicitly addressed the needs of cyclists on campus, but we hope that, in the wake of this accident, cyclists will come forward with suggestions for improving bicycle awareness and safety and that the university will consider some sort of safety policy or program for the campus’s benefit.
However, developing such a program is not the only step that the university should take. President Snyder’s e-mail also addressed two separate incidents of near-hits at the corner of Euclid and Adelbert Roads. This intersection is quite simply a mess and is dangerous to navigate even while Officer Mark Chavis is trying to protect students, faculty, and staff from oncoming traffic. Certainly one thing the university could do is build a pedestrian footbridge from the north side of Euclid to the corner of the Binary Walkway so that students could avoid crossing the street altogether. Several cities have utilized such structures, including Youngstown and Lakewood, and certainly Cleveland could too, in the interest of student safety.
The city of Cleveland should also take note. Drivers on Euclid Avenue need to be barred from making any right turns on red onto Adelbert. The city also needs to provide additional lighting and signage at the Adelbert crosswalk in front of Adelbert Hall (the site of the accident). Finally, CWRU should consider having the city of Cleveland move the crosswalk from its present location to roughly 20 feet east, so that students crossed directly from Euclid Avenue to the Binary Walkway. Decreasing the number of times students have to cross the street would most definitely decrease the likelihood of accidents or near-accidents.
Finally, we strongly encourage students to listen to president Snyder’s request and watch out for each other. Certainly the president of a university shouldn’t have to send out an e-mail reminding us all to look both ways before we cross the street, but it bears repeating. Still, as long as the traffic patterns remain the same and there is no alternative route for crossing the street, we can never be guaranteed safety. For a university with such a global reputation for excellence in engineering and problem-solving, it is bewildering that CWRU would settle for such half-baked solutions to these problems.