By Vanessa Adrian/Contributing Writer
The University’s Police Department has secured a new $2,500 grant for a pedestrian program which will improve safety around the campus intersections and crosswalks, according to police.
The three month program began on Saturday, Feb. 10, and will consist of campus police officers handing out pamphlets, warnings and citations to pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers who violate the law, according to Alphonse Ianniello, FIUPD assistant chief of Patrol Division.
“The main goal is to educate people when they are at the cross walks to let them know when to cross or not to,” said Ianniello.
The program, according to Ianniello, will have officers passing out pamphlets in English, Spanish and Creole that will provide traffic safety information on intersections and crosswalks. The program, however, will only be implemented at the Modesto Maidique campus.
“We chose to do this at MMC Campus because it has the most intersections as opposed to BBC where they are inside the University,” Ianniello said. “Luckily there hasn’t been any accidents there.”
Last year alone a University freshman died the day before the new fall semester after being hit by a vehicle while crossing SW 8th street and 10th avenue near MMC.
The grant, according to Ianniello, was provided to FIUPD by the Florida Department of Transportation so police could help students be conscious of their surroundings as they are crossing the street.
“When you go into a crosswalk, don’t just assume that all of the vehicles are going to stop,” Ianniello said. “That is how accidents happen.”
The program is intended to bring awareness and end violations in disobeying traffic signals, cyclists not using the sidewalks, pedestrians jaywalking and drivers failing to yield.
“Hopefully the outcome will be that if we keep this going through May that means the warnings would go down which means that people are learning,” Ianniello said.
Any violations within the final weeks of the program, which will be in May, will result in a citation.
Police officers will monitor the busiest intersections in the university: Southwest 109th Avenue and Eighth Street, Southwest 107th Avenue and 16th Street and Southwest 107th Avenue and Eighth Street.
Feature image by Vanessa Adrian/PantherNOW