The Winchester Street area by the Science Center has been in chaos recently with the demolition of Adams Technology Building and portions of Butterfield Hall. The buildings were demolished to make room for the new Technology, Design and Safety (TDS) Center. This building will house the architecture, design, safety and the new nursing classes. The TDS Center should be completed in August 2012, in time for the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
Despite the numerous positives associated with the TDS Center, the construction of the TDS Center has reminded students and faculty alike of the dangers for pedestrians along Winchester Street. Cars traveling over the speed limit along Winchester are unable to stop in time for pedestrians, putting them in danger. The sidewalks along the construction zone have been eliminated, creating a hazard for students traveling from campus to housing in the Winchester Street area. Cars driving too quickly, or not paying attention to the pedestrians, often come close to hitting students. Pedestrians ignoring designated crosswalks or not paying attention to the traffic does not help to solve the problem.
Over the past few years, Keene State has made attempts to create both driver and pedestrian awareness along Winchester, most recently installing raised crosswalks and flashing signs to warn cars that pedestrians are crossing. Students can often be seen disregarding the crosswalks or barreling into the road without looking to see if there are cars coming. This is especially prevalent when students are rushing to classes or at night. Drivers often drive too quickly to notice pedestrians starting to cross the road, creating some near misses.
The school has sent out a generic pedestrian warning announcement via MyKSC about safety when crossing Winchester Street.
While this is a good first step at keeping students safe there should be something more specific given to students concerning safety when crossing Winchester and other busy roads. Something as petty as handing out tickets for jaywalking or building a fence between the road and the sidewalk could deter students from crossing at the wrong place. More posted speed limits, better lighting and even better speed bumps along Winchester could help drivers be aware of their speed and distractions around them when driving.