The main thing that Midland College Police officers look for are drivers who are speeding and not yielding or honking at pedestrians going across the crosswalk, according to MC officer Paul Paget.
Speeding was one of the reasons that the speed limit was lowered from 25 to 20 mph around the MC circle drive. “The chief Richard McKee felt most people rarely followed the speed limit,” Paget said. “When the speed limit was 25, people were going between 30 to 35 miles an hour, which that is really too fast for our small campus. The five mile decrease has already significantly reduced drivers’ speeds along the campus.”
Paget has written tickets to a few people for driving 40 or more miles an hour on campus. “That’s just not enough time to react, with as many people as there are walking around campus and using the crosswalks,” he said. “Someone getting bumped a little bit…will find the injury less because the speed is less. That’s just physics. The faster you go, the more damage and injury will occur to somebody.”
Jaywalking is something that is not really seen as a big deal considering how small the campus is. “Jaywalking is actually when you cross diagonal, but we don’t have that; we have people failing to cross at a marked crosswalk,” Paget said. “If we had moving traffic, and this was a bigger campus, I could see us going to enforcement, but it’s not that bad. Doesn’t mean we’re not going to stop and talk to somebody and explain to them to use the crosswalk.”
Although pedestrians have the right of way, they should still look out for drivers who are not going to stop or yield. “If you step out in front of a car and you think they’re going to stop; that’s not smart because you’re talking about a vehicle that weighs anywhere from two, four, five, six thousand pounds,” Paget said.
Paget has seen a lot of close calls, but he hasn’t seen drivers fail to yield to pedestrians. The campus tries to prevent things like this from happening. The officers are in the process of getting the crosswalks marked with bright signs to help warn drivers to yield and give pedestrians the right of way.
“If people will call in and report issues that occur giving the location and time, we will put an officer out there,” Paget said. “We need to know these issues. We can`t be everywhere at once.”
Students have had issues with drivers not yielding to them as they are walking on the crosswalk. MC student Cheant’e Williams said she was walking across the crosswalk recently, and she came close to being hit by a Ford monster truck.
“I don’t know if they saw me coming over that bump because I am a little short, but it was coming so fast,” Williams said. “I was panicking saying ‘oh lord’ because I was expecting them to stop. I saw them still coming so I stopped and jumped back.”
Williams said some drivers don’t slow down when they see pedestrians coming across the crosswalk. They speed up so they won’t have to wait for the person to cross.
MC student Polo Ramos III said he is a pedestrian who walks all the time. “I have had drivers speed up and pass me,” he said. “The parents who are dropping their kids off are usually the ones speeding and in a hurry.”
Ramos added that the students are the ones who don’t pay attention. They’re either texting, talking to the person next to them or just in their own world.
“I have actually seen this girl putting on her make up as she was approaching the crosswalk she never even look up at her surrounding so I patiently waited for her to pass,” Ramos said.
Williams and Ramos have both jaywalked before because of being late to class or just not wanting to take the time to use the cross walk. Ramos said he jaywalked because he just had one of those days where he just didn’t wake up early enough and was going to be late for class.
Williams said she has jaywalked before, but she feels that if people are not going to stop for students while they are trying to get across the crosswalk she might as well jaywalk. “Because the way these people drive, it don`t matter if you’re at the crosswalk or not,” Williams said.
Instructors also are concerned with the traffic that goes around the circle drive on campus. MC Psychology professor David Edens said he has an issue with college students speeding because persons trying to get somewhere at a rapid speed are not paying that much attend to their surroundings.
“When you are focused on getting to that parking spot as fast as you can then the focus is not on the people who may come in contact with your vehicle,” Edens said.