Safety corner: Be safe. Be aware of pedestrians and cars around campuses

Posted: July 19, 2016

In a recent email message sent to college employees, safety and health manager Derick Nelons reminds us to be extra aware of both pedestrians and cars traveling on streets and sidewalks around the three campuses.

Pedestrian safety is an issue that affects the entire community; young and old, drivers and walkers, in the day and at night. Recently we’ve had several employees at the downtown campus struck by vehicles while crossing the street in the crosswalk. We’ve also had reports of numerous “near misses” of students and employees being struck by vehicles.

In an effort to improve pedestrian safety on and around campus, I am working with the Traffic Engineer for the City of Tacoma. The City of Tacoma is in the process of developing a Safe Routes to School Plan. This plan will present ideas or opportunities for the College and City that will help mitigate pedestrian related accidents. In addition to developing the Safe Routes to School plan we are working on other action items to improve pedestrian safety.  I will share more information as it becomes available. In the meantime please review the safety tips below.

Safety Tips

For Pedestrians: Walk Smart

  • Be predictable. Use sidewalks where provided. Cross or enter streets where it is legal to do so.
  • Crosswalks and traffic lights don’t stop cars! The WALK signal does not mean it is safe to cross. It only means it is your turn to cross. Check to make sure all traffic has come to a stop before crossing.
  • Look before stepping past stopped vehicles. They may be blocking your view of moving traffic.
  • Wear bright clothes to be seen day or night.  At night, wear reflective materials.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, always walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
  • Stand on the side of the road while waiting for the bus and always stand at least 10 feet away from where the bus will stop.
  • Cell phones and texting impair your ability to walk safely, just like they do a person’s ability to drive.
  • Try to make eye contact with the driver(s) to make sure they see you before you begin to cross

For Drivers: Do Your Part

  • Always come to a complete stop at the stop line.
  • Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it is not marked. When you stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop well back so that drivers in the other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop.
  • Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active.
  • When you are turning, you often will have to wait for a “gap” in traffic. Beware that while you are watching for that “gap,” pedestrians may have moved into your intended path.
  • Be extra attentive and slowdown in school and work zones where increased pedestrian presence is likely.
  • Keep your windshield clean for maximum visibility.