Photo by Anna Oprisch

Student athletes’ efforts led to the installation of two flashing crosswalk warning signals on 19th Street and Chester Avenue to slow traffic for students.

 

 

Oct. 30, 2017

Athletes voice safety concerns, city listens

“Slammed on their brakes,” “screeching stops, and “close calls” are a few ways that Justin Connor, a sophomore student on the lacrosse team, described his personal experience as well as his teammates’ experiences while trying to cross Chester Avenue to reach Krenzler field. 

“The problem with that intersection is that is has high volume traffic during our walk over and from practice,” he said, “… many cars zoom by seeing us waiting to cross and decide not to stop.”

Connor brought up these dangerous experiences at the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) meeting, and other athletes at the meeting agreed the issue required immediate action. 
The committee decided that executive member Mac Lewis, a junior student on the swim team, would be designated to  find a solution, because he knew the steps needed to create a real solution.

“I was excited to take on the project because I am an urban planning major and this is exactly what I will be dealing with in the future,” Lewis said.

The process progressed by a chain of communication from Lewis to Associate Athletic Director Kathy Worthington-Wilson, to the Cleveland State Police Department, and finally to the City of Cleveland which owns and maintains Chester Avenue.

Two weeks after Cleveland State filed its complaint to the city, Cleveland installed two flashing pedestrian lights facing east and west at the intersection of Chester Avenue and East 19th Street.

“The fact that it was able to happen so quickly is quite rare and amazing, in my opinion,” Lewis said.

The lacrosse team is one of five Cleveland State athletic teams, including men’s and women’s soccer, softball and cross country, that cross Chester Avenue to reach the field.

Increasing Cleveland State Police patrolmen during the peak time of travel for these athletes is another planned initiative to ensure drivers yield to pedestrians.

Lewis met with a representative from each of the five athletic teams to determine this peak time, and they concluded that at least three teams would be using the crosswalk from 2:45-4 p.m.

“This was a great collaborative effort between me the SAAC board, Kathy, the [Cleveland State] police, and the city, as well as the overall help and opinion from the athletes,” Lewis said. “Not only is this great for athletes, it’s great for all students [who attend sporting events], so it’s a win-win for everybody.”

 



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