Why we cannot expect Colorado Springs to adapt
In the most recent issue of The Catalyst, news writer Zack Glosser quotes Campus Safety Director Maggie Santos as stating, “Although we have not been told that CSPD has plans to ticket pedestrians who jaywalk at the light … that is always a possibility.” As many students have likely pieced together at this point, the rumors of Colorado Spring’s Police Department officers ticketing students, spread by the most recent stoplight breakfast burrito station, are more than exaggerated.
Every time you cross a crosswalk, you make a decision. The more variables, the harder that decision becomes, especially when two parties are involved. Unlike any other crosswalk or stoplight at Colorado College’, the East Campus crosswalk and stoplight on Nevada Avenue is intended to work similarly to Uintah Street and Nevada, meaning pedestrians do not cross without a signal, and cars do not stop at a green light for pedestrians. For some reason, this new stoplight, which is not at an intersection, poses issues in decision-making for both drivers and pedestrians.
While Residential Life Coordinators Zak Kroger and Matt Edwards believe it takes breakfast burritos, promotional videos, stickers on crosswalks, and threats of jaywalking tickets to get students to cross in the safest way, what are they doing to ensure that every car driving on Nevada Avenue—or, more intimidatingly, U.S. Route 85—complies with the same system?
Well nothing, because they can’t. With every effort to get students to use the stoplight system as intended, there is a car that, with reason, believes it should stop at the East Campus crosswalk as it did 500 feet before, by Shove. In response to this, the breakfast burrito station has told me to wave them through. Consequently, I have been flipped off almost more times than is comical for not crossing when cars stop. I think it is also important to note that while crossing Nevada Avenue at the stoplight en route to edit this article, a Campus Safety vehicle stopped at a green light, waving for me to cross.
I am fairly confident that there is no safe way to use the crosswalk/stoplight system between Barnes Science and East Campus. In this instance, CC proves to be the bubble many people criticize it to be. Yes, on Cascade Avenue pedestrians cross the street with the help of flashing lights and the universal understanding that cars stop for people. On Weber Street, pedestrians generally wait for cars to pass. However, in between these streets, on Nevada Avenue, there is no longer a standardized crosswalk system, and we cannot just expect that our one stoplight—our one exception to the entire thruway—will be understood by an entire city just looking to get from one point to another. This is not safety.
To ensure safe crosswalks for students and the broader CC community, we need to be able to rely on the predictability of our system. An ambiguous system can be the difference between “that was close” and something extremely detrimental. Even if, objectively, a stoplight seems to create a safer route from one side of Nevada Avenue to the other, we cannot control who knows how to use it on wheels, and we must adjust to that reality accordingly.