When students walk, bike or drive down University Drive, two signs sit to the left and right, flashing “Crosswalk Ahead.” After appearing on Nov. 8 and remaining to this day, questions have arose concerning the signs’ sudden and mysterious appearance mid-semester.
Due to a student being hit at the crosswalk between University Drive and Theatre Lane this fall, the “Crosswalk Ahead” signs are a temporary fix, according to Greg Hahn, the associate vice president of Communications and Marketing. Although the student is in good condition, Boise State wants to prevent any future incidents from occurring by putting up these signs and improving the crosswalk permanently.
“I just know the student is OK. It made us say ‘let’s not wait for these other signs to get up,’” Hahn said. “That process has been going on. When we started the crosswalk on the curve, we knew we were going to have to do more to alert drivers it’s there. So we put those signs up to keep awareness high.”
According to Hahn, the new sign at the crosswalk at Theatre Lane and University Drive will be similar to the flashing sign and lights across 8th Street and River Street. However, the new crosswalk improvements will more than likely just be a flashing crosswalk sign. Although Boise State would prefer a replica of the 8th and River crosswalk alert, Hahn stated it was up to Ada County Highway District (ACHD).
“We’re working with the ACHD and the city to have a button students can push, and it flashes the lights,” Hahn said. “It’s not like the one near the administration building, putting the red light up and making cars stop. It’ll be more like the one on River Street, where it flashes lights across the road. We’re not 100 percent sure when or if we’ll be able to do that, but for sure, we’ll be able to put flashing lights on the crosswalk sign. That’s the immediate play and should be up in the next couple of weeks.”
Hahn continued by stating the needed parts have been bought and should be placed in the next couple weeks—and will be in operation by spring semester.
“From what I understand, we already have the parts this year for the sign,” Hahn said. “You’ll be able to push a button, and it’ll flash under the sign. It just raises more awareness for the drivers.”
After the recent scare, Boise State staff decided the “Crosswalk Ahead” signs were needed until the new pedestrian signs were in order. Due to the curve of University Drive near the crosswalk, it’s hard for drivers to see pedestrians until it’s too late. Although the crosswalk at University Drive and Theatre Lane has been an ongoing problem, Hahn stated the needed improvements had to go through several channels before being enacted.
“It clearly was a tough crosswalk because of the curve,” Hahn said. “So we have a complicated system. Because it’s a public street, it is technically managed by the ACHD, but the city of Boise sort of plays a role too. It’s not easy to make big changes quickly, but we do what we can do by putting the signs up to manage traffic for football games and stuff like that.”
According to the project sector of ACHD, the improvements are a requirement of the new Boise State honors building and are dependent on the building’s developer. However, ACHD is currently discussing additional enhancements on the intersection at Lincoln Avenue and University Drive.
Although the student being hit was a wake-up call for temporary action, the crosswalk improvements are not just a result of the incident. The improvements have been in the works due to Boise State’s growing population, Hahn stated.
“Its definitely a lot of students over there (in that crosswalk),” Hahn said. “Every time the campus grows one way or the other, we have to figure out all the safety issues, but they’re working on it to make sure everyone can get around as safely as possible.”