Bad weather forced East Tennessee State University administrators to cancel night classes Thursday, the first day of the new semester, but students there for the day class load noticed bright yellow flashing signs at crosswalks installed as an effort to improve pedestrian safety on the 15,000-student campus.
Shawn Benson, director of campus planning at ETSU, said work crews recently installed 20 flashing pedestrian crossing signs at the busier crosswalks around campus.
These signs have LED lights that flash and are powered with solar panels attached to the tops.
“The intent is to attract the attention of an approaching motorist,” Benson said. “We tried to locate them at the highest traffic areas of campus. Like I said, the intent is to augment pedestrian safety but to do it in a way that uses only sustainable energy sources and to do it in a way that sort of adds aesthetic appeal to the campus.”
Installation of the new signs began a couple weeks ago and wrapped up this past week. The signs cost about $1,500 apiece.
“We’re hoping to obtain some funding to put in about 20 more, you know, to try and double the number that are out there,” Benson said. “And eventually, like I say, we’d like to have them installed at every location on campus where appropriate.”
Marcus Thompson, a graduate student studying sports management, thought ETSU’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety were a good thing because there were numerous incidents where students were hit by cars this past school year.
“I don’t want to be the person who gets hit by a car and then have to leave for the semester,” he said of why it was important to install signs and other pedestrian safety measures. “That would mess up my plans of graduating when I wanted to graduate.”
Shelby Stamets, also a graduate student studying sport management, thought ETSU was making strides in the area of pedestrian safety.
“As a driver, I’m more aware of pedestrians, so something’s working there,” she said. “And making it more user-friendly for pedestrians is going to encourage people to walk around more, bike more, instead of driving. I feel like this is a big commuter campus, so it is important, because we have a lot of traffic around here. So, definitely, I’m glad ETSU is making some effort.”