The number of motorists who drive through the stop sign adjacent to the Recreation Center at Colorado State University-Pueblo is a problem that seems to get no attention from the campus hierarchy.
I first noticed this problem in fall 2009 when I began my course of study here. Because I park my vehicle in the east side parking lot, I have to walk up the hill to reach the four-way intersection adjacent from the Recreation Center. On most days, I see motorists drive through the stop sign without regard for whoever might be crossing the street.
Last week, two vehicles careened down the hill from behind the Massari Arena in what looked like a high-speed chase. Instead of slowing down and coming to a complete stop, both vehicles drove through the stop sign, and the operator of the second vehicle yelled, “Go f— yourself” as he drove by.
I stood there, mouth agape, as I watched both vehicles disappear down the road with its small-minded occupants cheering stupidly. I couldn’t believe that someone actually had the nerve to speak that way to me when they themselves were the lawbreakers. However, I shouldn’t be too surprised considering my past experiences with these maniacs.
Once, when I motioned for a motorist to slow down, he instead floored the gas pedal and, in defiant gesture, flipped me off as he drove by. A female motorist also did the same thing just last week. And when I shouted to the driver of a pick-up truck to slow down, another male sitting in the cargo hold stood up, unzipped his trousers and… well, use your imagination.
I know what you’re thinking. Why make such a big fuss over such a “small” thing, right?
Also, students burn rubber when driving out of the Recreation Center parking lot without slowing down or stopping to see who might be approaching them. One woman actually stopped her car, shouted colorful expletives and floored the gas before I could respond. Another motorist, who saw everything from her car in the opposite lane, shook her head in disbelief.
To me it is beyond amazing how drivers can get away with such behavior at an institution of higher learning. If this is an indication of the intelligence and behavior of our future leaders, our country is, for lack of a better word – screwed.
What’s worse is campus security vehicles are parked at the far end of the Recreation Center near the Administration building while all this takes place.
Last semester I addressed this issue in an e-mail to CSU-Pueblo Provost Russ Meyer. He explained that security personnel most likely are conducting their morning pass down at this time, which makes sense to me. However, isn’t it possible that security personnel watch for violators while conducting business?
The provost said he would look into the matter. To date, I haven’t seen any positive change.
Personally, I would like to see the university install cameras near the stop sign to record violators. When the violator gets caught, he or she loses some green stuff. After all, money talks, and hitting drivers in their checkbooks might be the wake-up call they need.
However, camera equipment is costly, so I don’t see this happening anytime soon. So, what can we do to rectify the problem?
Since it’s illegal to inflict bodily harm on these people (which one feels like doing), I recommend that security conduct their business in the Recreation Center parking lot near the road. I’m sure the campus could designate a couple spaces for officers to conduct their business. In this way, drivers will see our security force at work and hopefully slow down and stop.
I believe the campus can make a positive difference. Sure, it will take more than once for vehicle operators to get the message that these violations will not be tolerated. However, the campus needs to do something, and doing whatever it takes to enhance the safety of campus personnel is always worth the effort.
Sadly, I don’t expect to see any positive change any time soon. After all, why spend money to ensure the safety of campus personnel when it can go toward building new dorms, renovate the water fountain and remodel the library? Where’s the logic in that? I guess it makes too much sense.
William J. Dagendesh is editor and chief of CSU-Pueblo TODAY. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.