CSUN’s Motorcycle Patrol Unit to help with traffic congestion

Antoine Abou-Diwan

Courtesy of the Department of Police Services

In an attempt to address traffic congestion this semester, the Department of Police Services has brought back the Motorcycle Patrol Unit, refocusing its mission and dubbing it the Traffic Safety Unit.

“We are pleased and excited about our new version of the motorcycle unit,” said Anne P. Glavin, chief of police. “We are trying to bring relief to traffic congestion by providing a focused patrol.”

The motorcycle patrol that the Department of Police Services had was put on hiatus about 18 months ago, said Alfredo Fernandez, captain of the Department of Police Services.

“There were only two officers, and they moved on to other jobs,” Fernandez said.

Unlike the motorcycle patrol 18 months ago, the new Traffic Safety Unit will focus primarily on traffic and pedestrian safety, Sgt. Frank Gudani said.

“We focus on traffic congestion,” Gudani said.  “We are trying to optimize the flow of traffic.”

Rohon Tabankia, 22, business major who comes to school at off-peak hours said traffic flows better on Darby Street this semester than last semester.

Glavin said it is more than just sheer numbers of students and staff trying to get around at the same time that contributes to congestion.

“The problem is, drivers don’t pay attention and pedestrians don’t pay attention,” she said.  “Our approach to this problem is twofold: education and enforcement.”

Gudani’s appointment as head of the Traffic Safety Unit underscores the Department of Police Services commitment to traffic around campus.  He said he monitors trafficsafety@csun.edu, an e-mail address set up for concerns and feedback from the CSUN community about campus traffic issues.

Issues can range from speeding inside parking structures to non-visible traffic signs, he added.

The officers that make up the Traffic Safety Unit were selected from campus police officers, Fernandez said.

“The officers have to have good campus background,” Fernandez said.

He added candidates had to pass a written exam and oral interview.

“The selection process involved a panel selection, which I headed,” Fernandez said.  “The panel included a representative from the California Highway Patrol and a representative from the Los Angeles Police Department.”

Traffic Safety Unit officers passed 160 hours of training with San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Emergency Vehicle Operations Center and receive additional training throughout the year, Fernandez said.

Although the Traffic Safety Unit is primarily concerned with traffic issues around campus, Fernandez said  it is part of a multi-dimensional approach to campus patrol.

“A bicycle patrol is more approachable,” he said.  “It can more easily patrol the campus core, as can a T3.”

Darci Egan, 19,  Japanese and linguistics major said she has not had issues with traffic on campus in the mornings because she arrives early.

“It’s a problem when I leave at 4 p.m.,” she said.  “Parking is not the issue. There is always parking.”

Not all students are convinced that the Traffic Safety Unit is easing campus traffic congestion.

Taylor Silverman, 19, theater major, said the Traffic Safety Unit slows everyone down and it is very stressful.

“I thought it was better last year when they (Traffic Safety Unit) weren’t there,” she said.