Footbridge: Necessary Precaution or Eyesore?

Route 5 currently has few crossing aides, but a footbridge might be overkill. (Photo by Rowan Copley)
Route 5 currently has few crossing aides, but a footbridge might be overkill. (Photo by Rowan Copley)

The proposed footbridge that will cross route 5 and run between Anne Arundel Hall and the library area has become a hot point among the Saint Mary’s campus community.  Although we agree that something should be done about the safety of the route 5 crossing , building a bridge seems to be a drastic solution to a small problem.

Let’s ignore the entire fact that the bridge is going to be a waste of approximately, two million state dollars and focus on the fact that route 5 is only two lanes and not very traffic heavy.  We believe that most students and visitors are intelligent enough to look both ways before crossing the street therefore, preventing themselves from getting hit by an oncoming car.

A majority of the cars on route 5 travel at a reasonable speed and stop for pedestrians.  Even those that are speeding and don’t stop at the crosswalk can be spotted in a reasonable amount of time, so an accident can be prevented.  Although pedestrians have the right of way, it’s common sense to be cautious and make sure the vehicle is stopping before attempting to cross the street.

If the school does decide not to build the bridge, the money will go back to its source.  In other words, we won’t be able to use those dollars for anything else.  However, the money isn’t just going to disappear.  It will be used for other projects, projects that make more sense than a footbridge.

While we understand the “need” for a footbridge and believe that the safety of visiting school children is important, there are more reasonable methods to ensure their safety. The Capital Design Advisory Committee presented alternatives to the College and outside community and, “used surveys to evaluate the major concerns…to come up with the best way to solve the safety issue,” said Debbie Travers, the Student Trustee in Training.  “So far, it’s become very clear that a majority of students would like to see changes such as better lighting, sidewalks, and additions of medians to help drivers realize that they need to slow down instead of a footbridge.”

Let’s face it — the majority of the students who attend St. Mary’s come here at least partially because of the beauty of the campus, and a big ol’ bridge will kind of kill the local aesthetics.  The bridge is going to be an eyesore that will destroy the natural beauty on which the campus prides itself.

The entire situation, in general, seems kind of ludicrous.  After all, it’s not that hard to cross a two-lane street.

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