Concerns about pedestrian safety raised for crossing Prospect Road
By Amanda Hickey
Pembroke Place apartments can house 336 students. If each student walks across Prospect Road at least once to campus and again on their way back, the road gets crossed 672 times per day. That’s the best case scenario.
With the amount of foot traffic crossing Prospect Road daily, many are concerned about the safety of the students who travel that road by foot.
“The thing is, there are obviously a lot of commuters here and when commuters come in, this is usually the way they travel,” said Korey Revels, a UNCP senior and community assistant at Pembroke Place.
“There’s not that much of a police traffic, so you can fly down here at 60 miles per hour and usually not have a problem until you reach past here,” Revels said.
“Usually, they don’t do anything until night time, but during the day you can fly by here without a problem. This is coming from a person who used to do it. Especially when you’re late for class, or trying to get to class. Something happening is inevitable,” he continued.
Dr. Jon Lewis, assistant professor of English, is also concerned about the safety of those walking across Prospect Road.
“It’s 55 [mph] until the BP station; the soccer field is there, it’s 45 mph there [by the field], then it’s 35 mph by the first set of apartments, so if someone darts in front of you at 35 mph...,” Dr. Lewis said with his voice trailing off.
“It’s a matter of time when someone gets seriously hurt,” he continued.
For Dr. Lewis, his main concern is the safety of the students who he said shouldn’t have to drive 20 feet across the pavement to park in an already congested commuter parking lot.
“My main concern is safety. I just don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” Dr. Lewis said.
“I’m just sort of waiting to see, and that’s a bad place to be, waiting to see what happens with traffic and student safety,” Lewis continued.
According to Dr. Lewis, Prospect Road is as confusing for drivers as it is for those walking across the road.
“I think drivers are confused. Do you stop if someone runs in front of you? Who’s liable if someone rear-ends you if you slow down?” he asked.
According to Detective Ed Locklear of the Department of Police and Public Safety, the key to crossing Prospect Road is being as cautious as possible.
“Don’t take any chances crossing the street. If you feel like you’re not going to make it, you most likely aren’t going to,” Locklear said.
The Department of Police and Public Safety is working with the Pembroke Police Department to lower the speed limit on Prospect Road.
“We’ve asked them to look at it, and we’re waiting to see what they do,” Locklear said.
The Robeson County Sheriff’s Department is also concerned about the safety of the students crossing the road, according to Major Randy McGirt.
According to McGirt, an ideal solution would be to have an officer posted between campus and Pembroke Place helping students cross the street by slowing traffic.
However, the area in question is county jurisdiction.
“We just don’t have the staff to sit out there all day and help them cross,” McGirt said. He continued to say that many smaller towns are able to have officers posted at these kinds of areas to help pedestrians cross.
Revels said that there are many different ways to solve the problem of students being in danger crossing the five lane highway, including police patrol, caution lights and a cross walk.
“If people know that you can’t do it, they’ll generally slow down out of fear,” Revels said.
“I think those are the obvious remedies,” he continued.
Dr. Lewis also feels that a solution wouldn’t be difficult to come up with.
“If there’s a crosswalk, as a motorist, I know to stop,” he said.
Revels feels that nothing will be done to keep these walking commuters safe, unless people join together.
“UNCP, the town of Pembroke and Place Properties are going to have to conglomerate,” Revels said.
While many students, faculty and staff are concerned about the safety of those crossing the roads, they also feel that students need to be more careful when crossing.
“Getting to class is important, but your general concern should be about yourself,” Revels said.
“If it’s an issue, then state it. If enough people state it, then it will become a concern,” he added.