The pedestrian crosswalk signal at 23rd and Russell Long Boulevard in Canyon has been out of commission since before the start of the fall semester. This crosswalk, often used by students during the lunch hour, leads from WTAMU to United Supermarkets.
Texas Department of Transportation Traffic Engineer Mike Fowler said the department is waiting on contractors to supply them with software to update the traffic lights. This updated system will go along with the new landscaping along the highway.
“We’re doing that whole landscape project there so there may be some rewiring,” TXDOT official Paul Braun said.
Fowler noted that the new traffic signals will be an improvement because they will use feel, sound and light. Student Disability Services Office Assistant Jynna Askew expects this change to help disabled students get around Canyon safely.
“I think it would be beneficial for deaf students,” Askew said. “I think whatever we can do to accommodate them, we need to do.”
Chief of the University Police Department Shawn Burns said that watching the traffic lights will give students the best idea about when to walk.
“Use common sense for how signals work,” Fowler said.
WT students such as Jessica Ehlers and Zach Graves have been impacted by the crosswalk light outage.
“I guess you just figure when you can walk across and run,” Ehlers said
Graves noted that it poses the hazard of being hit by a vehicle.
“All those big eighteen-wheelers and cars hauling [butt], you don’t want to get hit by them,” Graves said.
Other students like Jonathan Scott haven’t even noticed that the lights were out.
“I don’t know that I’ve even noticed the difference,” Scott said.
The light being out has also posed an issue for drivers like WT student Clay Washington.
“I’ve almost hit a few [pedestrians],” Washington said.
TXDOT officials said they have been in contact with their contractor almost daily and expect to fix this situation soon.
As of Monday morning, TXDOT was unaware of whether the light was working.
More crosswalk tips can be found on the WT Police Department site at http://www.wtamu.edu/university_police/upd-crosswalk-safety.aspx.