by Braedon Martin / Staff Writer

Parking. It’s something most students and staff on campus have to deal with, especially trying to find a parking spot close to where your classes are.

Hutchinson Community College has plenty of parking lots, both on and off campus. The parking lot on the west side of Plum Street between 12th and 13th avenues is one of the more popular lots, and it has two crosswalks for pedestrians to get across the street and onto campus.

However, these crosswalks appear to be notoriously unsafe, with ignorant drivers and high traffic volume, as well as minimal pedestrian protection.

While both crosswalks are unsafe in their own right, the 12th Avenue crosswalk at least has a crossing signal, with a yellow flashing light that can be activated on either side, to attempt to stop vehicles while pedestrians are crossing.

Pierce Markham walks across the Plum Street crosswalk / photo by Shelby Spreier

However, Kira Bryant, Hutchinson freshman, said vehicles don’t stop often, even when the signal is active. Every day, likely hundreds of pedestrians cross the 12th Avenue parking lot, and reckless drivers put them at risk as they gun through the crosswalk, even with the signal active.

Jose Sandoval, Hutchinson sophomore, crosses 12th Avenue about three times a day.

“I’ve had people just run it, even when I press the button, even (vehicles) coming from a good distance,” Sandoval said.

The alternative to the 12th Avenue-signaled crosswalk, is the crosswalk near 13th Avenue and Plum Street. This crosswalk is less safe than 12th Avenue cars’ refusal to stop at the signal. 13th Avenue, however, has no flashing lights. It is completely unguarded aside from the painted path across the road.

“I mean, if people aren’t gonna stop when it’s flashing (at 12th Avenue), why would they stop when nothing is flashing?” Sandoval said.

When students are crossing either crosswalk, most cars at minimum slow down to allow students to cross, at least in front of their own car. Many vehicles, however, do not wait for the student to make it all the way across, and will power through the intersection as soon as they can.While parking is something everyone has to deal with, especially parking close enough to get to class on time, it’s up to those who drive the streets around HutchCC to ensure that they follow traffic laws, and pay attention to any signals on the roads, in order to ensure safety near the HutchCC campus.

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