Dangerous crosswalk stirs up controversy

When students graduate from SHSU, they not only leave with lessons learned while in class, but also life skills such as: the dodging of cars in the parking lots and streets surrounding the university.

While some students don’t seem to realize how bad the situation actually is, other students have experienced first hand the dangers of college drivers and incorrect signage.

With one major student-hazard area located in between the Forensic Science and AB 3 buildings, a cross walk is present, with of course a yield sign, where students become unsuspecting target practice by the motorists that speed by.

“It seems that I always see students darting cars to avoid being hit,” Shelly Kendrick, senior English major said. “I was walking by the post office today and almost got hit twice; people just drive way too fast.”

According to Mark Shiflet, Safety Coordinator for SHSU, this particular road is not owned by the university, but by the city of Huntsville. Shiflet says this area is also not up to code since no stop sign is present.

“If there is a crosswalk, there is supposed to be a stop sign or a light,” Shiflet said. “This area is not permissible by law.”

While Shiflet says that a few of the roads on campus that are usually dead-end roads, are owned by the university while majorities are owned by the city.

To get the process started, Steve Stacey, Huntsville City Engineer, says that either he or a representative of the city will be addressing this issue within the next few days.

“There is actually a long process that we have to go through to get a stop sign placed on a street,” Stacey said. “A study of the area is done first to ensure that this is an actual problem and not a judgment call.”

The process of signage in the city of Huntsville varies on the amount of time. After studying the problem area, Stacy will then decide a form of action that needs to be taken. During that time, Stacey will contact the City Manager and ask for a 90 day trial period, in which a stop sign would be monitored to insure that this is the correct form of signage for traffic control.

After the three-month trial period (in extreme cases the full 90 days are not needed) and comments are documented, the case then goes before the City Council where the sign becomes an official traffic sign.

“During the 90 day period, I can put a sign in and make it enforceable, meaning that a cop could patrol the area and write tickets for those who do not abide,” Stacey said. “When the 90 days has expired, and it has not gone before the City Council to make it official, the process will then be over and no measures will have been taken.”

Employed by Huntsville for only five years, Stacey said that others who have worked with the city for longer will be able to brief him on the history of the cross walk (such as when it was painted and when signs were placed in) to help him make a more accurate decision.

“I am not guaranteeing that a stop sign will be put in,” Stacey said. “But if this is something that is very serious, we will defiantly do something about it.”

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