Safety oversights

As Grand Valley State University continues to upgrade its facilities and grounds, the addition of sidewalks should not be overlooked.

Last year, a new Parking Transportation Traffic Committee formed at GVSU with the intent of evaluating traffic and transportation patterns on and to campus to propose potential upgrades to improve the traffic flow.

In January, Bob Brown and James Moyer, members of the Transportation Traffic Committee and administrators in Facilities Planning, told the Lanthorn the addition of sidewalks on Pierce Street was one possible project the committee would endorse. Moyer said especially with the addition of the new living centers and dining center on the south side of campus, interaction between pedestrians and vehicles would increase.

Just last week, the prospected interaction took a tragic turn as a student on a bicycle was struck by a car, and the student may not be able to return to classes for the remainder of the semester. Regardless of whose “fault” the incident was, to a certain extent the collision was unavoidable as motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians are forced to share the same space.

Whatever studies the Parking Transportation Traffic Committee is still conducting, the recent injury of this student should be plenty of proof that the current transportation set up is not acceptable.

As the GVSU student population continues to grow and the campus continues to expand, the university needs to plan for more students commuting to campus, whether from a block away or a few miles. Whatever mode of transportation the students choose, they should feel comfortable the means will be provided for a safe commute.

One student has been seriously injured partially as a result of the lack of sidewalks along this road, but he is not the only one affected by the problem. Numerous others have been inconvenienced and possibly endangered when walking, biking, running or skateboarding on Pierce Street.

The absence of sidewalks on one of the main routes to the Allendale Campus is an oversight in what should be an effort to promote student safety. Whether the bulk of the responsibility lies on Allendale Township, Georgetown Township or GVSU, someone needs to take the lead and start the collaborated effort to add sidewalks.