Walk identifies safety areas

Caution: More construction work ahead.

Student Government Association members met with Northern Kentucky University administrators Oct. 11 for the annual Campus Safety Walk.

The walk consisted of touring campus and discussing areas that need to be improved. Some requests are as simple as maintenance issues like fixing breaks in the sidewalks and other ones are more complicated: for instance, adding sidewalks or crosswalks in areas where they are needed.

Before the group met to venture through the dimmed campus, members of SGA and random students were asked about what improvements need to be made around campus.

When SGA and administrators met after touring the campus, the main topics discussed were lighting, emergency call boxes, breaks in the concrete and several ideas on how to make the campus a more convenient and safe place for disabled students.

“Northern is very compassionate and well accommodated to students with disabilities,” said Lisa Besnoy, a counselor for the testing and disability services.

Recently SGA passed a resolution to paint every step at NKU yellow and white to help visually impaired students better maneuver down stairs. The project would cost a minimum of $150,000 and would last between 18 and 24 months before the steps would need to be repainted. Students with disabilities have been asked what they think about the new resolution and said it will not help.

“Change in colors on steps doesn’t prevent the problem for the majority of people,” said Larry Blake, assistant vice president of Facilities Management. “But I am not opposed to doing anything that would benefit the students.”

Adding to the visibility of steps issue, Blake said that lights are supposed to be at the bottom of each step in the amphitheater. However, the wires are out and they planned to get it fixed.

Crosswalks seem to be another major dilemma on campus. Well-known throughout the student body, is that traffic is very unpleasant at various times. Blake discussed with the SGA members the main source of traffic congestion and how it can be decreased.

“There are three times a day when traffic comes to a standstill. We call them pushes and they are caused by the large amount of crosswalks and students crossing at various points where it seems to be convenient for them,” Blake said. “If students would use the appropriate crosswalks, traffic congestion would be limited.”

SGA proposed to help this problem by adding proper signs to direct students to the appropriate crosswalk areas.

Gabe Cronon, vice president of student involvement for SGA, humorously added, “You need to put collars on all NKU students, so if they cross at an inappropriate area they will get shocked.”

One major issue brought up was the inconveniences for handicapped students around campus. For instance, there was a concern over handicapped students and the cracks in the sidewalk. Blake noted that the university is working to “patch up” the sidewalks. Other concerns raised were the lack of a ramp leading to the lake and dim lighting on the ramp next to the University Center.

Another important issue brought up was dim areas on campus, lights being out and the placement of more lighting on campus.

Blake said that most lamps are on timers and the university does have people assigned to take a walking inspection of campus every two weeks.

He added that when it comes to safety, students, faculty and staff do not have to wait to report a safety issue.

“If I could achieve one thing before I leave, it would be to fix this campus,” Blake said.