Daily Titan staff, along with thousands of other students, cross Nutwood Avenue every day during the busy school week. At the same time, hundreds of cars are trying to navigate the same hectic street, pulling out of parking lots, structures and smaller roads like Commonwealth Avenue or Folino Drive.
It’s not uncommon to see drivers making right turns in between crossing students, backed-up traffic blocking crosswalks and students rushing at the last second to make the light. Not only do we experience it, but can easily see it all happening from the sixth floor of the College Park building where we work around the clock.
With all these convergences in such a high traffic area, it’s not surprising that incidents like Wednesday’s collision between a driver and a bicyclist occur. Student safety should be paramount, and apart from simply urging students to take more care while on Nutwood, there is more direct action that can be taken.
The long-in-development CollegeTown project offers some solutions, primarily in iterations which would close off large portions of Nutwood Avenue, turning it into a pedestrian area. An alternative solution could involve a pedestrian bridge across Nutwood, which would not only protect those on foot, but also allow for a smoother flow of traffic. We acknowledge that such a project alone could cost anywhere between $400,000 to $5 million, but reiterate its importance to safety despite the monetary strain.
At any rate, it would be in the best interest of CSUF and all parties involved to expedite the CollegeTown project, or at least the portions that relate to Nutwood.
Those concerned about traffic congestion with a partially closed road needn’t worry. In an interview with the Daily Titan last year, Charles Kovac, then the project manager for Fullerton’s now-shut down redevelopment department, said it would be possible to close the road and the goal is to at least narrow it to make it pedestrian friendly.
As for the short-term, there’s some work that can be done to help mitigate safety issues. A campus security officer could easily be placed at the corner of Nutwood and Commonwealth avenues to keep an extra eye out. A traffic camera could be placed, not to deliver tickets, but to monitor the intersection in case an incident does occur.
Lastly, proper bike lanes need to be arranged on the road so cyclists like the girl hurt on Wednesday have a place to ride. It’s possible for those on bikes to be cited while using the sidewalk, but with no designated bike lanes the sidewalk presents a much safer option.
The Daily Titan reaffirms its appeal to all students to practice safety at the intersections, both while driving and walking. Don’t risk physical safety by rushing the lights, and even if you have right-of-way, do an extra check for nearby dangers; it’s better to lose a second of your life than to lose your life in a second.