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University News

DPS ups traffic safety on campus

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, October 27, 2011

Department of Pubic Safety officers have begun using radar guns to enforce traffic laws on and near campus this semester, according to Mark Porter, chief of police and director of public safety.

Last spring, DPS trained officers in conducting traffic stops and furnished its police cruisers with ticket-printing equipment, he said.

“This is the first semester we’ve fully implemented strategies for traffic enforcement,” Porter said. “We’re being more proactive with traffic controls.” In previous years, DPS has worked with Providence police on traffic enforcement.  

The addition of radar guns is part of a greater effort to improve pedestrian safety on campus. Porter said he is interested in increasing pedestrian safety in other ways, such as improving the visibility of speed limit signs.

The initiative follows two recent traffic-related accidents — a drunken driving accident that killed Avi Schaefer ’13 in Feb. 2010 and a hit-and-run that seriously injured two female students in April, Porter said.

Officers can monitor traffic where they see fit, he said, but they will focus primarily on areas where there have been accidents in the past, including the intersections of Waterman and Brown streets and George and Thayer streets, he said.

Officers have stopped about a dozen cars so far this semester, he said.

Juliana Unanue Banuchi ’14, one of the students who was seriously injured in April, said she was happy to see DPS taking measures to increase pedestrian safety. “It’s necessary, not only for physical safety but my mental ease that I’m safe when I walk around,” she said.

She said she would like to see more of an open conversation on campus about pedestrian and bicycle safety. “I do see a lot of jaywalking and people running across streets. It’s also an issue of awareness,” she said.

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