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Student circulates pedestrian safety petition

By Chelsea Burwell
On March 28, 2013

  • DANIEL BRASWELL, Editor in Chief
  • DANIEL BRASWELL, Editor in Chief

Students seldom worry about their safety as they walk to classes. However, two students involved with a recent pedestrian-vehicle accident want this to change.
Senior Anthonia Busuyi, a biology major from Brooklyn, was hit by a car Jan. 31, as she was walking across Cromartie Street.
Busuyi said she was walking from the WB Atkinson Science building to the library.
"As usual, I waited for the walk sign to appear, so I could go," Busuyi said.
"As a pedestrian, I was expecting the car [that hit me] to slow down or stop."
She said the car continued to make a left turn without slowing down or stopping.
"As I'm crossing, I'm like 'Oh my gosh! She's not going to stop.' Suddenly it just happened."
Rosalyn Summers, a junior clinical laboratory science major from St. George, S.C., was also hit in the accident as she walked behind Busuyi.
"She [Busuyi] saw the car before I did," Summers said.
Busuyi said she sustained injuries including a scratch to the face, internal bruising and a fractured pelvis.
Summers said she experienced severe pain in her lower back and left leg, along with a knot on her forehead.
"I'm grateful it wasn't worse," Summers said.
According to Campus Police Chief Patricia Norris, the young woman driving the car was trying to find a radio station when the car hit the two female students.
"She never saw them," Norris said.
Within the past year, Norris said that there have been only two incidents in which three people have been hit by cars on campus. She said Cromartie Street was the site of an accident last summer where another female student was hit while crossing the street, making Cromartie a "hot spot."
Norris said the student was hit by the car because the driver claimed the sun was in their eyes.
"I thought I was the first person that this happened to, but I'm not and it's really sad," Busuyi said.
After the accident, Busuyi started a petition to build a pedestrian bridge at the intersection of Cromartie Street and MLK Jr. Drive. She said she has received support from her instructors and other faculty in the health and science departments. As of March 14, 276 people had signed the petition. She said she hopes to reach 1,000 signatures.

"We should raise our voice about our major concerns and changes that need to be made on this campus," Busuyi said.
"Not just building and things to make our campus attractive, but things that can actually benefit us safety wise."
Winston-Salem State students are not the only ones concerned about pedestrian safety on campus.
"We have received quite a few emails back and forth from staff and faculty that try to cross the street," Norris said.
Summers said that one of her instructors has made an effort to contact Winston-Salem city officials to lower the speed limit driving through campus, post signs for turning vehicles and increase traffic patrolling. She said her instructor has already started a petition of her own. Summers said one of the major dangers at the intersection of Cromartie and MLK Jr. Drive was the lack of signs posted for turning vehicles.
"The turn lanes are something that we need to be more cautious of," Summers said.
"You have to worry too much when someone is making a turn."
Both Busuyi and Norris said that the major problem with pedestrian safety falls in the hands of drivers who venture throughout campus.
"Of all the accidents that we've investigated involving people being struck, it's not due to speed," Norris said.
"It's due to driver inattentiveness."
Busuyi said that drivers should be more cognizant of their surroundings, and remember that they are on a college campus. "As a driver, you should be going a certain speed limit and you should be able to stop," Busuyi said.
She said that crossing guards should be brought back to help students, faculty and staff cross intersections safely.
During the spring 2011 semester, campus police enlisted crossing guards to help people cross campus intersections of MLK Drive, Rams Drive and Cromartie Street. The crossing guards were only used for one semester. Norris said having guards was costly.
"It was good to have [crossing guards] there in the morning, lunch time and afternoon, but having them there all day was just not cost effective."
Norris said although consideration has been made about overpasses, people walking across campus likely would not use them.
"We are not ruling out an overpass, but we are looking to see if there are any other plausible solutions that are cost effective," Norris said.
According to Norris, the University met with the Winston-Salem and North Carolina departments of Transportation and discussed other solutions to improve pedestrian safety.
She said that the U.S. 52 bypass that is being constructed will lower traffic flow through the campus.

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