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Opinion

Driver asks pedestrians to watch out

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December 6, 2007

One thing I know I don’t want to be is the faculty member who drove right over a pedestrian crossing the street. Honestly, I’m pretty sure there aren’t any faculty members who want to be that person.

I know it’s cold out, and when I’m cold, I tend to tuck my head down and keep moving—so I understand why sometimes you don’t seem to be looking when you cross the street in front of me. But, just to keep me from being the one who might hit you, you might want to take a quick peek at conditions as you approach a street on or around campus.

Sure, sometimes I feel frustrated when 32 people have crossed in front of my car as I patiently wait to get to my parking space and my office. That doesn’t mean I have an excuse to try to cut in front of you. So just keep walking when that happens.

On the other hand, there are a couple of things pedestrians do that I think are really dangerous, and I’d appreciate it if you’d reconsider.

One of them happens when you approach an actual crosswalk where the snow is piled high on either side. If you don’t stop to look, and just keep walking at speed, the snow banks might keep me from seeing you at all, especially if I’m making a turn onto the street you are crossing. Even if I do see you, I might not have time to stop on the snow before I slide into you. I drive a little car, but it’s definitely quite a bit bigger than you are.

The other one is when you hop out of a snow bank to cross Cascade Ave. in the middle of the North Hall block. I know why you do it, because I’ve done it myself when I’m late for a meeting. But it’s the way you do it—top speed (for a snowy day) through the snow and into the street. My mind-reading gear isn’t always working, and all of a sudden there you are, crossing the street six feet from my front bumper. When I’m making that kind of crossing, I make eye contact with the oncoming driver, so I’m pretty sure she knows I plan to cross in front of her. You could try it too.

I know they’re planning to put in medians and fences in the middle of Cascade so we’ll all have to cross at the corners, but until they do that, do me a favor. Keep me safe from my worst nightmare—a Student Voice headline reading, “Associate Dean Runs Over Pedestrian”— and take a look before you cross.

Mary Manke is associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies and is in her ninth year in that position. She coordinated accreditation for Educator Preparation in 2003 and is now beginning to prepare for the 2010 visit. She teaches in the Shared Inquiry Master's Program.