The Student Government Association’s Village Relations Committee is spearheading a new initiative that deals with pedestrian safety on Seton Hall University’s campus.
As previously reported by The Setonian, an unidentified female student and Frank Bolger, a crossing guard, were struck on Sept. 25 and 26, respectively, near Farinella Gate on South Orange Avenue in late September.
In response to what occurred, the Village Relations Committee, led by its chair, Santiago Cabrera, is leading an initiative to combat the issue.
Santiago Cabrera, a sophomore economics and finance major and the Village Relations Chair commented on the initiative.
“I believe safety has to always be worked on, especially when cars are getting hit there constantly and at night it has such poor lighting,” Cabrera said. “Also, it separates the University from Health Service so that adds priority to the Bethany Hall interception.”
Cabrera said that getting the traffic guard was a great initiative and that he and his colleagues started working on cutting the bush in between South Orange Avenue and Bethany Hall so that drivers can see when people are leaving.
Timothy Foo Siam, an SGA ad-hoc senator, commented on the initiative.
According to Foo Siam, the initiative was started because “attention was brought towards problems regarding the crossing signals at traffic lights on South Orange Avenue and other lighting on streets such as South Stanley Road, South Kingman Road, and Centre Street South.”
Rishi Shah, a freshman biology major and freshman senator also commented on the initiative.
Shah said that hearing about the accidents and people’s fears led them to the start the initiative. He said that they want to make sure students feel safe when they leave campus.
“It will promote safety by trying to fix the pedestrian signs, trying to get a school zone sign, fix the lights outside the intersection, or by having someone to monitor the traffic outside the intersection at all times,” Shah said.
“My personal opinion regarding this initiative is that students should not have to worry about being hit by cars on the way to school,” Foo Siam said, “It is also important that our dancing crossing guard stays in healthy condition to brighten the days of commuters and pedestrians alike.”
Shah said that he and his colleagues drafted a letter that states their desires for changes in safety precautions due to the two accidents that happened.
Shah went on to say that for the initiative to go into effect, he and his colleagues had to read the articles published about the accidents and then to go at different times of the day and research “car travel, people usage of the cross walks, how the cross walked looked at different times of the day, how the signs and lights were working and general impressions of the scene.”
Afterwards, Shah said he and his colleagues drafted a letter which was reviewed by Fahim Adedrabbo. Next they will meet with Colleen Dallavalle, the assistant dean of student life, regarding next steps. They will then meet with public safety. “This is all needed for the culmination of meeting leaders of the South Orange village to work on implementing change,” Shah said.
Timothy Dziekan, another SGA ad-hoc senator, also commented saying he thinks the intersection is extremely dangerous.
“I have had to cross it a few times, and it’s always a little bit of a rush when you cross without knowing if you’re safe or not,” Dziekan said. “I think it’s especially dangerous since crossing that intersection is necessary to get to health services, and many times those students are a little disoriented.”
John Kelleher, an SGA ad-hoc senator also commented on the initiative. He said that he believes all lights need to be bright and easy to see regardless of time or weather conditions.
“I personally observed the intersection and also got hit myself, due to an aggressive driver,” Kelleher said.
“I believe this initiative is important because we as a University have seen the implications of the negatives this intersection can cause,” Kelleher said. “Our initiative has large implications because many students, staff, faculty, parents, and guests go through the intersection every day.”
Rhania Kamel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.