A campaign to increase traffic safety for drivers and pedestrians on campus will be conducted starting this week due to recent vehicular and pedestrian-related accidents.
“Project P.E.D., which stands for pedestrian safety enforcement deterrence, is a campaign to raise awareness from a safety and educational standpoint,” said CSUN Chief of Police Anne Glavin.
The campaign also wants to step up on the enforcement of traffic violations, most of which are violations of California state law, she added.
Beginning this week, there will be a heightened concentration of CSUN police on campus streets, especially on Etiwanda and Lindley.
“We will be watching for full stops (and whether) motorists are abiding by the speed limits,” Glavin said.
“When I reach a stop sign, I usually just stop and go, not usually for the suggested three seconds, and I’m sure I’m not the only one,” said junior Mitch Lozada, an information systems major.
“I think a lot of students will be upset by the close police watch,” he said. “When cops are around an initial reaction is nervousness, (and) cops may agitate drivers, (which) may cause accidents.”
“It’s really easy ? slow down and obey the law,” said Christina Villalobos, the public information officer for the CSUN police department. “(Project P.E.D.’s) goal is to enforce and educate.”
Students will get a citation if they violate driving safety regulations, which acts as the enforcement part, she said.
In addition, violators will receive flyers informing them of traffic safety habits, which respond to the educational aspect of Project P.E.D., Villalobos added.
Officers will also be making sure that drivers yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, but at the same time, pedestrians are expected to use designated cross walks instead of crossing the streets where it may be more convenient.
According to the 2006 calendar, there have been 76 vehicular accidents, Glavin said.
The majority was injury-related, and only 12 were minor in nature, she added.
Within the past few months, there have been serious accidents due to traffic safety violations.
One recent incident involved a female student assistant who suffered multiple fractures after being hit by a speeding vehicle in the B3 parking structure.
“It’s a parking lot, (and) this type of injury would not have resulted if (the driver) was abiding by the speed limits,” Villalobos said.
Another accident involved an athlete riding a bicycle across a designated crosswalk who was hit by a vehicle that failed to stop at the stop sign.
Sergeant William Smith of the CSUN Police Department, who was a victim of an unsafe student driver, said, “It’s a cautionary thing ? I’d much rather write a moving violation citation than (write one for) a fatality (because) of a violation.
“Warnings don’t work ? it’s been proven that enforcement is the way to change,” he said.
“With everything I do right as a driver or pedestrian, I admit that I find it easier to cross (the street) in a more convenient area rather than walk further to a cross walk,” Lozada said.
“The biggest problem is the use of cell phones,” Glavin said.
Whether it is a pedestrian crossing the street while on the cell phone or a driver talking while driving, using a cell phone is a distraction, she said.
There have been a number of e-mails from concerned students complaining about dangerous driving habits seen on and around campus.
“The enforcement aspect is a little extreme because we already have to worry about school, work, and family problems ? now we have to worry about getting a citation,” Lozada said. “I don’t want to get hurt, but I’m also worried that I will get a ticket because I don’t follow the rules as strictly.”
“There is a high visibility component about this campaign,” Glavin said.
People will be more inclined to slow down if they see others being disciplined for unsafe actions, Villalobos said.
“This is a continued campaign to get greater awareness (of traffic safety) and to curb bad driving and bad pedestrian safety habits,” Glavin said.
The CSUN Police Department is hoping to partner up with the LAUSD police department to help monitor violators, she said.