By Jared Anderson and Brooke Moody–
U of L students familiar with the iconic voice signaling it’s safe to cross streets around campus often ignore the advice. Statistics compiled by The Cardinal found thousands jaywalk at locations across campus.
Over the course of 20 hours, The Cardinal counted 1,149 jaywalkers.
Jaywalkers were tallied earlier this month every day of the week at varying times at intersections on Belknap campus during hour-long increments. Reporters counted any person crossing against the signal.
Locations with a high number of jaywalkers include:
- The crosswalk at Second Street and Third Street between the College of Business and Ville Grill – 693 jaywalkers in four hours.
- The crosswalk in front of the Student Recreation Center – 155 jaywalkers in two hours.
- The crosswalk between Speed School and Natural Sciences – 64 jaywalkers in one hour.
- The crosswalk between Ekstrom Library and University Pointe – 74 jaywalkers in one hour.
Intersections on the outskirts of campus had fewer scofflaws:
- The crosswalk from McDonald’s to the Natatorium – 118 jaywalkers in four hours.
- The crosswalk from Bettie Johnson Hall to Jimmy John’s – 25 jaywalkers in one hour.
- The crosswalk at the corner of Third Street and Eastern Parkway – 20 jaywalkers in three hours.
The Third Street crosswalk at the Ville Grill had the highest number of jaywalkers, yet is one of the most dangerous locations on campus.
“If they are crossing at Third Street, remember they are crossing a state road. It’s actually part of the state highway system,” ULPD Major Aaron Graham said. “There’s a lot of traffic, interstate traffic, vehicular traffic going wherever they are going to go and they come through at a high rate of speed.”
Frequent jaywalking and heavy traffic at that location make it prone to accidents. “That is the number one sector where we will see accidents, especially pedestrian accidents,” Graham said.
Jaywalking is unsafe, and against the law. Kentucky Revised Statue (KRS) 189.570 Section 6 states violators can be cited if caught in the act, according to Kenny Brown, also of ULPD.
“Last spring, we had officers standing on Fourth Street, Cardinal and Third Street, and they would pass out informational tickets basically saying that ‘you just jaywalked and you put yourself in jeopardy, and it is best if you use a crosswalk,'” Graham said.
Some students are still willing to take the the risk. Although U of L is listed as having a ten-minute walk to anywhere on campus, the time does not account for waiting for a crosswalk. Reaching class on time is a major concern for students, fearing penalization for being tardy.
Junior Matthew Mines admits to having scampering against the light in the past. “You only have so much time allotted between classes and you have to get a good seat,” Mines said.
Most do not jaywalk, but the numbers ignoring the caution light is high. Some were observed by The Cardinal staring at their smartphones as they broke the law.
Many wait for the crosswalk sign before stepping out onto the roadway. Senior Ashley Pearson said that she does not like to jaywalk. “I don’t jaywalk because I don’t want to get hit by a car. It is not worth it to be in such a rush to me,” said Pearson.
Whether out of fear of being hit by a car or obeying the law, the study found that the majority of students wait the few extra seconds instead endangering themselves and others.
The high number of jaywalkers is especially alarming because police say August and September see the most illegal crossers. “We see that within the first month in the fall semester, usually it’s first years because they’re looking at maps. They have their head down trying to figure out where they’re going, and that’s where we have the issues,” Graham said. “But once everyone gets acclimated to the geography of the campus then we don’t see that as much.”
Photo by Rachel Trimble / The Louisville Cardinal