Students share concerns about campus accessibility

Chris Howland / THE GATEPOST

By Sophia Harris

Asst. News Editor

SGA held its once-a-semester Campus Safety Walk March 22, in which students raised concerns about the accessibility of blue lights on campus, speeding in front of Larned Hall, and dark spots on campus to administrators.

Secretary Samuel Houle voiced safety concerns about the visibility of pedestrians on the street in front of Larned Hall. He said cars often park in the fire lane and make it difficult for oncoming drivers to see pedestrians. 

Chief of University Police John Santoro said students should call the FSU Police Department or send an FSU tip if they see cars parked in the fire lane, adding University Police “have been pretty diligent about writing parking tickets.”

Houle brought attention to the poor condition of crosswalks behind Larned and asked about possibly adding a speed bump or raised crosswalks to slow drivers.

Patricia Whitney, assistant vice president of Facilities and Capital Planning, said it would “probably be really hard to add a raised [crosswalk] because of the turn” behind the residence hall.

She said there is “no question” about repainting the crosswalks and she will “definitely take care of that.”

Whitney said she will have to discuss with University Police, but could “look at potentially adding a smaller speed bump” closer to State Street at the bottom of Normal Hill, but Facilities would have to be mindful of plowing and snow removal. 

Lorretta Holloway, vice president of Enrollment and Student Development, asked if a sign to alert drivers to slow down near the crosswalks would help with speeding and caution pedestrians of oncoming traffic.  

Whitney responded, “Why don’t we just note this as an area where you think we need some mitigation with the pedestrian vehicular interface, and then we’ll look at the options that are out there.”

While walking down Adams Road, Whitney said she noticed the crosswalk on Adams Road horizontal to Mayard Road has no curb cuts and is not wheelchair accessible. 

She said, “The city will have to get on this right away.”

President McKenzie Ward asked about moving the Code Blue Station from behind Dwight to in front of Hemenway Labs.

Whitney said after speaking with Corey Hobbs, manager of networking and telecom, they have decided to remove the old Code Blue Station behind Dwight and provide a new one in front of Hemenway Labs. 

Senator Raffi Elkhoury added the advantage of having a Code Blue Station in front of Hemenway Labs is the position of the light would have “multiple viewpoints and could be seen from the Crocker Grove area.”

Houle asked if it made sense to remove the Code Blue Station behind Dwight. 

Whitney said, “I can leave it, but I was told people wouldn’t use it.”

Ward said the Code Blue Station is not accessible and “no one is going to run down a hill” if they were in trouble and needed to access the emergency phone. 

Dara Barros, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, raised a concern about a dark spot on campus between the Sam the Ram statue and the front of the McCarthy Center. She said the lights boarding the dark spot on campus make it appear even darker because of the contrast of the lights. 

Santoro said his department was going to “take a look after dark to get a better idea, logistically, where it [the dark spot] is.”

Barros brought attention to the position of the lights on the front of the library, “It gets completely dark between Larned” and Normal Hill “once you are out of the path of light the library lights project,” she said.

Whitney said, “This is an area we have worked very hard on a couple of years ago, and sometimes, LED lights can get a little dimmer when they get old.”

She said she would appreciate it if when students notice the lights are dim, they would put a work order in to Facilities “so we can put newer bulbs in.”

Whitney said, “You can either send an email to Facilities, or 24 hours a day, if you go on [the] my.framingham site. … Anybody can use that as long as you have an official email and you can log on. Just give us a report any time of day and night. You’ll get a response when it’s fixed.”

[Editor’s Note: McKenzie Ward is Opinions Editor for The Gatepost.]