Being a pedestrian can be hazardous to your health, even lethal. And crossing Fayetteville Street on N.C. Central University’s west campus is getting riskier and riskier.
So risky that even two of the “Yield for Pedestrian Crosswalks” signs have recently been flattened by an errant drivers.
“They’ll speed up and don’t let you go,” said Jasmine Gabriel, a predenistry freshman . “Five seconds isn’t gonna kill them, but it might kill us because our professors are really strict.”
But if you need to get to Eagle Landing or Ruffin residential halls, the Mary Townes Science Building, or the Biomanufacturing Research Institute & Technology Enterprise Building, you’ve got little choice but to make the crossing.
“It is really difficult because they kind of fly pass and no one stops,” said Kianna Porter, family and consumer science junior.
According to N.C. traffic regulations drivers are required to yield to pedestrians at pedestrian crosswalks even when there is no traffic light.
Each day the average daily traffic count on Fayetteville Street is about 13,000 cars, trucks, and buses, according to a 2013 count by the N.C. Department of Transportation.
“Especially during our busy hours, a lot of times officers have to get out of their cars and help the students cross the crosswalk,” said campus police lieutenant Charles Simpson.
According to WatchForMeNC.org, 2,200 pedestrians are injured or killed by cars on North Carolina streets each year.
So that’s why, twice a year, Campus Police collaborate with the N.C.’s Department of Transportation to crack down on drivers ignoring the yield to pedestrian signs. The program is called “WatchForMeNC.”
“There are three general statutes in which we go by when we are doing this,” said Simpson, referring to N.C. pedestrian right of way statutes 20-155, 20-172B and 20-172C.
In a single two hour stretch during the 2014 operation, officers issued 15 failure to yield citations at the crossing in front of the campus police department.
“Be aware because you never know when we are running a program and you might get a citation,” said Sampson, adding that next WatchForMeNC operation is tentatively planned for April 9-16. WatchForMeNC operations are also conducted in Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Raleigh.