As Erie weather becomes increasingly obnoxious, driving likewise proves more hazardous. However, this doesn’t seem to pose a problem to drivers on Briggs Avenue.
Even in the best of conditions, Briggs is a problematic and potentially dangerous area on campus. Although not necessarily a narrow road by itself, the parallel-parked cars on one or both sides significantly diminish the amount of space cars have to maneuver.
Class changeover aggravates the situation more. Added to the numerous vehicles arriving at and leaving campus, hundreds of students are traversing the road to and from the apartments. Snow, slush and ice make the distance slippery and uncertain.
However, no one would be able to tell that these conditions exist by observing the way many drivers navigate the space. Some cars barrel up and down the street with little to no regard for people trying to cross or for other vehicles.
With cars parked along the curb, especially larger vehicles, it is often extremely difficult to see if a person is about to step out into the road. Pedestrians who are still on the curb or passing between two cars can also have a tough time determining if another vehicle is coming.
Many students have complained about how unobservant drivers can be on Briggs. The main problem seems to be speed. The posted speed limit is 25 mph, and many cars travel at least that speed or faster, regardless of variables.
This time of year, these problems are compounded by the weather. Snow, sleet and ice make conditions difficult for drivers and pedestrians alike. Cars cannot brake as quickly or effectively as usual, and those on foot often have to move much slower and with more caution to avoid a slip.
Taking into account these variables, it is evident that a change in mindset is needed on Briggs’ asphalt. The speed limit should either be lowered or more strictly enforced, especially during the class changeover. A higher enrollment equates to more students crossing Briggs as more cars pass through, meaning there is a greater chance for an accident. The speed limit should reflect these changing conditions.
Drivers and pedestrians can also be more respectful of one another. Neither group has exclusive rights to the road. Drivers can slow down and those on foot can be more observant of their surroundings. These and other minor changes can be extremely effective in preventing major problems in the future.