Crosswalk Safety on VCU’s Campuses
The following message was sent out to students, faculty and staff across both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses earlier this week. The safety of all commuters, cyclists and pedestrians is important in both of our campus communities, and VCU Cheif of Police John Venuti recommended the following safety tips:
To the VCU and VCU Health Communities,
The safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers is a primary focus for the VCU Police Department. We have been working with the City of Richmond and the Richmond Police Department to make the roadways, intersections and crosswalks on both campuses safer.
There are approximately 1.2 million vehicles traveling through Virginia Commonwealth University’s campuses each week and thousands of cyclists and pedestrians using crosswalks. Everyone plays a role in keeping these busy intersections safe.
Drivers: Please keep your eyes on the road and refrain from using electronics, such as cell phones and earbuds or headphones while driving. We ask that you follow speed limits and traffic signals and be on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists, especially when leaving parking decks and lots. Yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street.
Cyclists: Please follow all traffic signals and signage. When cyclists ride on roadways, they are subject to the same traffic laws as drivers. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, avoid wearing earbuds or headphones and be careful when making left hand turns at busy intersections.
Pedestrians: Be aware of your surroundings; looking at phones and wearing headphones or earbuds takes your attention away from nearby traffic. Only enter crosswalks when you have the right-of-way and check both ways for turning vehicles. If you have the right-of-way and see a car, don’t assume the driver sees you. Crossing against the light means you could be at fault for a collision.
With this in mind, I think it’s very important to note the progress that’s being made to help keep us all safe as we travel by foot, bicycle or car.
The City of Richmond has implemented Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) adjustments at 10 intersections on VCU’s Monroe Park Campus (on Broad, Franklin, Grace and Main streets). This gives pedestrians at least a three-second head start with a “walk” signal when entering a crosswalk with turning vehicles. The extra time enhances the visibility of pedestrians and reinforces their right-of-way overturning vehicles, especially in locations with a history of collisions.
The city has reduced speed limits in multiple locations from 35 mph to 25 mph to include Belvidere Street between Idlewood Avenue and Leigh Street. Two intersections along North Harrison Street also have extended hours for “no left turns” to accommodate a high volume of pedestrian traffic.
Stop signs have been installed at 13th and Marshall streets on the MCV Campus. VCU Police officers previously had to conduct daily traffic control here due to a lack of signage. (There are plans underway by the city to repaint crosswalk markings at approximately 150 intersections across the city.)
At the beginning of the academic year, VCU Police launched a crosswalk safety initiative to educate students, faculty and staff on both campuses. In March, VCU Police officers supported Richmond’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic crashes that cause injuries and deaths on city streets. Officers spoke with more than 600 drivers, cyclists and pedestrians about traffic laws. In some cases, officers issued summonses for violations including speeding, failure to obey traffic signals, driving under the influence (DUI) and jaywalking. These particular violations pose an immediate threat to our community members by increasing the possibility of a collision.
I firmly believe that all of us at VCU play a role in crosswalk safety and we all have a responsibility to be aware, be lawful and be patient at intersections. Thank you to everyone who has communicated with us about traffic safety throughout the year. We continue to work diligently with the city and our safety partners to address your concerns.
Should anyone have additional feedback, please email VCU Police at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Venuti, Chief of Police
Associate Vice President for Public Safety, VCU and VCU Health