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Should city add steps to discourage jaywalking?

November 21st, 2011 9:28 am by Staff Report

There’s a pedestrian bridge over West State of Franklin Road that connects the city’s Millennium Center to the campus of East Tennessee State University. But while the crosswalk has the letters “E,” “T,” “S,” and “U” attached to the outside, apparently few students find the covered bridge very inviting.
Instead, students prefer to cross West State of Franklin Road between the campus and the Carnegie Hotel. After receiving a number of complaints from motorists, city police say they are now on the lookout for jaywalkers in the area.
As Press staff writer Rex Barber reported earlier this month, ETSU students were informed by campus email that police will be enforcing pedestrian crosswalk rules. Jaywalkers can receive a citation and face a fine.
The crackdown follows an incident in May when two people were taken to the hospital after they were both hit by a car while crossing West State of Franklin near ETSU.
ETSU leases 40 spaces in a parking garage next to the Carnegie Hotel and the Millennium for students enrolled in the school’s digital media program at the Scott Niswonger Digital Media Center. Other ETSU students also attempt to park in the garage and nearby parking lots.
ETSU Vice President for Finance and Administration David Collins said while the university encourages the use the crosswalk, some pedestrians may not want to use the lengthy ramp that leads up to the bridge on the Carnegie side of the road. Collins told Barber there have been discussions about perhaps building a shorter set of stairs, but the bridge belongs to the city and such a project would require money.
“Well, we certainly have a concern and we don’t like to see (jaywalking), but there’s little we can do about it,” Collins said.
We want to hear what you think. Should the city add steps to the pedestrian bridge over West State of Franklin Road at ETSU to discourage jaywalking?
Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification.
We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks. You also can go to to cast a vote in the online poll. Results of the poll and comments from readers will appear on this page Nov. 29.

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