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Chris Landry: Smith College students need to open their eyes to traffic



Sunday, November 17, 2013
To the editor:

One of the tricks I’ve developed for coping with modern life is thinking of all Northampton pedestrians as kindergarten students. The lady with the yoga mat not looking where she’s going? That guy talking on his phone as he steps out into traffic? When I think of them as six-year-olds it helps me expect the unexpected.

But I almost hit a college student the other night, and I’m tired of this.

It was dark and I stopped my car at the crosswalk in front of the Smith College Campus Center, as I do several times a week, to let some students cross. Then I started again, only to have the passenger in my car yell for me to stop, having seen what I could not see: another student, dressed in black, running down the side street to, inexplicably, dash across the road in front of me without a moment’s hesitation.

That crosswalk has been the site of many accidents and at least one death, and yet students continue to act recklessly, putting themselves and others at risk. I don’t know what the college is doing about this, but it’s not enough.

College students need to open their eyes to the community they are living in and see the people, their neighbors, they are putting at risk. And college officials need to do something to change this behavior before another student is killed.

If a public information campaign would help, let’s talk. There are a number of communications firms in town that I’m sure would be happy to help. But let’s not wait for someone else to die before we get serious about this.

Chris Landry

Northampton