Northgate signs hope to reduce accidents

Molly Wierman and Nick Krause, News Editor and Contributing Writer

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The City of Irving installed speed-detecting signs on East Northgate Drive. The university hopes it will make the crosswalk safer. Photo by Elizabeth Kerin.

New street signs that alert drivers to their current speeds, similar to those in the University Hills neighborhoods near campus, have been placed on East Northgate Drive near the University Place Condominiums and Gregory Hall.

Officer Charles Steadman, director of the Campus Safety Office (CSO), stated that the signs were placed on Northgate two weeks ago, largely in response to safety concerns regarding the pedestrian crossings on that part of the street.

“[There were] three serious vehicle-pedestrian accidents on that section of Northgate in the past 12 months,” Steadman said.

One of these occurred in early Sept. 2015, when a student crossing the street was hit by a car. The car later fled the scene, according to the CSO campus incident reports, which can be found on the University of Dallas website. The student suffered minor injuries.

The new signs are the result of discussions between UD and the City of Irving concerning traffic problems on Northgate.

“I know that Patrick Daly, University of Dallas associate vice president for administration in Business Services, has been working with the City of Irving on the traffic problems on Northgate,” Steadman said.

Daly was unavailable for comment regarding his joint efforts with the city.

Daly had previously been involved with the rebuilding of Northgate in 2010, during which water lines beneath the street were fixed, the street was repaved and the sidewalks were constructed, according to a previous issue of the University News published in September of that year.

Steadman said in an email that the signs will not eliminate all risk for students.

“Pedestrians will always be in danger if there are reckless or unaware drivers on the road,” Steadman wrote in his email.

Students who frequently have to cross the street to get to campus are aware of this possibility.

Juniors Thomas Levonius and Leo Chernoff, who live in the condominiums, said that the nature of the street increases the chance of collisions.

“It’s really hard to tell if people are slowing down,” Chernoff said. “It’s also hard to see with the hill if people are coming.”

Levonius and Chernoff added that some drivers in the area are simply aggressive and who may not be paying attention to students walking in front of them.

“Dallas drivers are like that,” Chernoff said. “In the country, people are much nicer.”

Both said that speed cameras in Las Colinas along North Belt Line Road and North MacArthur Boulevard do little to deter offenders from speeding and driving recklessly. They expect the same result to come from the signs by campus.

“Most [drivers] realize the signs don’t really do anything,” Levonius said. “They just draw more attention to how fast you’re going. If people were going to [speed] before, they’re going to do it again [with the signs there].”

Chernoff agreed that the signs will likely not prevent any accidents and said that he tries to use common sense when crossing the street.

“Usually people will stop and let you go,” Chernoff said, adding that the DART buses that run by campus always stop to let students cross. “I just wait for the street to be basically clear before I cross.”

Junior Katherine Zoch said stop signs at the pedestrian crossings might be the best option to prevent accidents.

“No Texas driver is going to stop for check-your-speed signs, except maybe for hypersensitive drivers like me,” Zoch said. “People do tend to stop at stop signs, though. I know there are some by the four-way stop near the Student Apartments, but I don’t think there are any where people are actually crossing. I think they would be helpful.”

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