I never thought I would miss right angles so badly until I began to navigate my way through Mercyhurst by way of sidewalk.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I remember hearing these words in my sophomore year geometry class back in high school, staring at triangles and praying for the agony to end. Walking from building to building on campus, I am reminded of the obtuse and acute torture.
There does not seem to be a single bit of sidewalk that runs in a straight line.
Nearly everyone knows Mercyhurst is a stitched up campus which, to be honest, is part of the charm. The composition of various construction projects and added buildings ranges from the 1920s to the 2010s.
The mismatched bricks on Old Main are just one small bit of tangible evidence.
The other, more obnoxious reminder, is the sidewalk. Those cement lines stretch across the school grounds in an intricate maze.
Choosing which path to take can be an incredibly complex and sometimes dangerous task.
Take for instance the route from the upper parking garage to Preston: the only bits of sidewalk run up to Hirt and around the building, or across the odd triple lane stop sign which nearly every car driving through seems to neglect.
Leaving Hirt, students face a fork in the road to simply cross the road, and for what? So a sign can sit on the unnecessary patch of mulch in the middle of all the cement?
A junior at Mercyhurst said, “We already have to worry about picking a direction in life; you know, big picture and stuff. Honestly, I would rather walk over the grass than take the maze of sidewalks to get from one place to another. Not to mention it would probably be safer.”
In addition to the excessive and aggressively-angled sidewalks, there is a serious problem with their condition.
Bits of sidewalks all across campus are flaking, cracking and crumbling. Students, as well as faculty, have reported falling over the uneven concrete, and not because of snow and ice.
Take a second to assess things around campus and you will understand.
The steps to the upper parking deck are falling apart. The staircase is literally detaching itself from the structure entirely, enormous holes split sidewalks apart, rebar is beginning to show in some cases and railings are becoming loose.
Instead of spending money and time planting flowers that we know will die when the weather changes, why don’t we try to fix the sidewalks?
We’re not trying to hike the Oregon Trail here; we’re trying to get to class.