2004-08-30

UGA is not pedestrian friendly

The University of Georgia has a long way to go to realize its pipe dream of being pedestrian friendly. In some places sidewalks are totally blocked off by shrubbery and fences, forcing pedestrians into traffic before they can access them. Roads have been narrowed, making riding in buses more dangerous due to crazy car drivers that pass in no-passing zones, but buses are essential to helping pedestrians and reducing traffic. The architects have wished away vehicles by turning driveways and parking spaces into sidewalks -- so service vehicles have to park and drive on sidewalks. It's very unfriendly to me as a pedestrian to be on a sidewalk with trucks coming at me from both directions. The Coca-Cola tractor-trailer that makes deliveries has to drive over a curb and park on a sidewalk, which damages the curb. All this sidewalk driving culture also makes some University employees feel they have a license to drive as if they were emergency vehicles, such as the wrong way on one-way streets or over medians to make U-turns. Also, pedestrians are frequently forced into roadways because they can't find the silly sidewalks that make winding pathways across parking lots and lawns because they're placed some distance from the roadways and obscured from vision. And what about how the intersection of Sanford and Baldwin has thousands of pedestrians but no automatic crossing signal? The walk signal is activated only by pressing a button, and on one side it is 20 feet or more from the sidewalk where one would never push it, meaning that pedestrians pretty much have to cross in front of cars with a green light.

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