'Share the Road' campaign held this week
This year's campaign will emphasize pedestrian and bicyclist safety education in walkways
September 25, 2013, 7:25 pm · Updated September 25, 2013, 8:35 pm·
Justin Cohen | DP
The Division of Public Safety is currently conducting its biannual Share the Road Campaign to educate bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians about road safety, traffic violations and fines.
DPS has Penn Police and Allied Barton Guards stationed at key locations on and near Locust Walk, stopping students and handing out flyers and pamphlets on road safety.
This year, DPS is stressing education regarding the interaction of bicyclists and pedestrians on walkways. Specifically, they are encouraging students to stay off of their phones, especially while crossing the street, and are reminding students when and where they are permitted to ride their bikes on campus. Guards have stopped bicyclists to remind them that bikes are not permitted on Locust Walk between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.
“You never know what accidents you prevented,” Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. “We have to believe that making people aware of how they operate is clearly going to have a positive impact on people’s health and safety.”
Rush said the initiative started about 10 years ago because of the increased population of University City and the influx of bicyclists to the area.
University City District estimates that over 100,000 people traverse the area every day, including hospital transports and restaurant-goers.
“‘Share the road’ is a concept that is embraced by public safety as a means to illustrate the issue of vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists all sharing this environment,” Rush said.
Share the Road is a local and national organization with branches at both Drexel University and the Philadelphia Police Department. While DPS is responsible for the Share the Road Campaign within the borders of Penn’s campus, they work closely with many other groups — including PennCycle and MERT — to make the campaign possible.
Although the official campaign only spans a week, DPS works on the initiative year-round. Last year, during the construction of Shoemaker Green, DPS worked with Facility and Residential Services to establish a better crosswalk at 34th street in order to make Smith Walk — which goes to Penn Park — more of an extension of Locust Walk. The project included conferring with the nearby hospitals to make sure the backup caused by cars yielding to pedestrians wasn’t a problem for ambulances.
One of DPS’ longer-term projects is to increase safety through the creation and use of more bike lanes. Penn does not build or maintain bike lanes in University City, even those on campus. However, the department has been working with the Mayor’s Office to get the job done.
Last year, with the creation of a new westbound bike lane on Walnut Street, students have been much safer, Rush said. The only problem has been students trying to ride their bikes eastward, against traffic, which can cause accidents.
“It is a universal problem — everybody has to share the road, that’s the point,” Rush said.