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Increased traffic raises safety concerns

Since the beginning of the fall semester, the traffic on Thomas Drive has increased due to the closing of the Fairview Drive exit. With construction vehicles, students, faculty and visitors driving in and out of Eastern, Thomas Drive has become very crowded. Joggers, bikers and students who choose to take that road only add to the congestion. The fact that Thomas Drive is a narrow, curved road makes all this traffic a safety issue.

Rachel Richardson, a sophomore commuter who drives here every day, expressed her concern saying, “Some people drive way too fast; I’m afraid someone is going to get hit.” With the increased amount of cars going back and forth, there is not much room for pedestrians in the street.

Senior Danielle Keister admits to “speeding a little” down Thomas Drive and said, “It makes me nervous because people walk on the wrong side of the guardrail. I feel there should be a path.”

When asked about any future plans for a paved pathway, Jim Williamson of campus security said that he knows of none. He went on to explain that concrete trails cause many problems with the preservation of the wildlife. “It took a long time for them to make the paths on campus.,” he said. “There was a lot of surveying done to make sure the layout did not affect the creek.” Williamson described how the concrete can cause polluted runoff to go into the nearby creek in rainy seasons. Due to this, pavement is avoided to protect the environment.

When informed of the problems caused by concrete, Keister said, “Putting [in] a strip of concrete will not kill all the wildlife.” She then asked, “What’s more important, people or bushes?”

There already exists a covered path from Walton Hall to North Campus Hall. Students trying to reach Eagle Hall would simply need to keep going past NCH. Many choose to take that path rather than brave Thomas Drive.

Junior Sevag Bakalian said that he chooses to walk the concrete path through the woods to avoid cars and enjoy the scenery. When asked if he would take Thomas Drive were there a path, he replied with a clear and concise, “No.”

Not everyone is convinced a path would change anything. Junior Brian Campbell walks down Thomas Drive from the Eagle Hall parking lot. He said that he has never felt unsafe on the road, and that he does not think having a concrete path would make a difference. However, in reference to the traffic, he said, “I wish they would slow down.”

According to Williamson, “Nothing prohibits the students from walking anywhere on campus.” He said that as far as he knows, there has never been any incident of people getting hurt in the past.

Those who choose to walk in the road on Thomas Drive should be alert, and proceed with caution.

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