“Hey, I’m Crosswalking Here”


Gerald Maib for The Easterner

By The Easterner Editorial Board

We face a problem of infrastructure. The simple painted-on crosswalk is no longer sufficient for the amount of people and cars attempting to use Washington street at the same time. Pedestrians cross in a steady enough stream to halt motor traffic and cause bumper to bumper jams during class transitions.

Students trickle and surge across the four crosswalks spread along the half mile stretch in a random dance with traffic that boggles the mind. The problem arises when cars are unable to find opportunities to drive through crosswalks for as long as five to seven minutes at a time — meaning cars are backed up as far as the next crosswalk.

“I know with our staff in facilities services we know when classes change and when it gets busy.  We avoid traveling during those time if at all possible,” said Karen Wichman, EWU Facilities Director, in an email.

Luckily this has not yet caused safety concerns. EWU Police Chief Tim Walters said that they don’t get an inordinate amount of accidents or violations on Washington, but they do like to be present and visible during transition times to encourage proper behavior.

A simple, if not costly, solution would be the installation of pedestrian traffic signals. These would help break up the constant stream of people into condensed groups, llowing drivers a window to pass and keep traffic flowing

“I think people are accustomed to [traveling down Washington] taking more time during transition periods,” said Chief Walters.  

So it comes down to if EWU and the residents of Cheney, including students, feel that traffic flow on Washington is enough of a problem to warrant the money required. Are people fine with the grind like Chief Walters believes? Or are drivers tired of the hourly standstill on campus?