Ada County Highway Department works with Boise State to improve traffic safety on campus

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Crosswalks around campus are put in place for the safety of everyone commuting to classes, whether they are walking, biking or driving. Updates are to be implemented to crosswalks around campus and have already begun, with the addition of flashing lights to the crosswalk connecting the Honors Sawtooth College and Theatre Lane.

The Department of Transportation, Parking and Safety Systems is working with the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) to reduce overall risk and to install a Barnes Dance, or a multi-directional crosswalk at Lincoln and University Drive. Along with working on a Barnes Dance, the ACHD provided Boise State with speed notification signs, alerting drivers of how fast they are going.

“We recognize that people who use any form of transportation will make mistakes, but those mistakes should not result in significant injury,” wrote Samuel Patterson, director of transportation, parking and safety systems. “It’s important that vehicles slow down and avoid distractions, realizing they’re on a University campus with a strong pedestrian-focus. Our design principals should echo that philosophy and we should rethink the way our streets and sidewalks are designed.”

Accidents between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles have been a present issue on campus and continue to appear every year. The university has a record breaking number of new students attending Boise State in the fall of 2020 with 26,272 students. With the high enrollment, traffic will increase and education on campus safety will need to be implemented with the new students 

“[Crosswalk] Incidents are not driving the improvements we want to accomplish to plan, design and operate a University that’s supportive of multi-modal transportation,” wrote Patterson. “As Boise State University grows, we want to strategically focus on all modes of transportation including pedestrians, cyclists, scooters, etc.”

Students have expressed concerns about the lack of similar alerts at other crosswalks and vehicles driving too fast in pedestrian heavy areas. Many feel that pedestrians and drivers need to look out when crossing the road, but cyclists need to be aware as well. 

Gabe Finkelstein is the manager of the Cycle Learning Center and has seen first hand how fast cars drive and the amount of possible accidents that occur directly outside of the bike shop.

“You don’t have a lot of protection when you’re riding a bike. And when it’s a car that hits you, the cyclist is always going to lose,” Finkelstein said. “So it kind of amazes me how little caution cyclists, pedestrians, e-scooters, long borders have on campus. It’s pretty clear that if you get into an accident, you’re not going to be the one that’s always going to be able to walk away.”

Boise State is well-known as a bike friendly campus and won the Gold Award in November 2016 for bike safety on campus. Not only is the campus bike friendly but it also caters to the 25,540 students that currently walk to classes, parking garages and dorms.

Freshman mechanical engineering major Ryan Olson is an avid biker on campus.  He dislikes the long walk from the Sawtooth Honors College dorms to the Interactive Learning Center, where a majority of his classes are held.

Olson described how the line-up of cars waiting to pass through the crosswalk area connecting Sawtooth and Theatre Lane can be a lot to navigate in times of high traffic.

“If there’s a 10 foot gap cars will try to squeeze in between the people. It’s like everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere and they’re not respecting the pedestrians,” Olson said. “A stoplight system would be way better. That way the cars can pass and then the pedestrians can pass, instead of pedestrians always get the right of way which makes it cumbersome on the cars waiting.”

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