Tag Archives: dangerous

A Safer Campus Commute? I think not…

          Day one on campus; nothing has changed in respect to commuting.  Well, if there was any change at all it was in the increased number of dangerous pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists on campus.  As the U stated last year there would be changes on and around campus, still I see inattentive pedestrians, still I see people biking where they are not supposed to, and still I see people in cars, buses, and semis intimidating other commuters.  Little has changed since the idea contest for making traveling around campus safer, and the only thing it takes to notice this event is your eyeballs. 

          Let me explain: some people at campus have been in rodeos before; trying to bike, attempting to walk, and potentially driving safely around campus.  Others just got on their way this morning, and have amassed little concern with the rules of the road.  The latter have never been to their first rodeo. 

          First rodeo situation:  if you haven’t biked on or around campus in the midst of thousands of excited students on the first day of fall semester, it would be your first rodeo.  Watch out, be mindful, and know your role.  Put your stupid smartphone away and make it from point A to point B.  -Safely.   

          Upon biking to the university this morning for class, I took extra precaution, mentally preparing myself as I do regularly, as I suggested in my concept for a safer campus commute, as the U has so generously used in their emails/slogans:  be aware of your surroundings.  I’ll take the credit, but I won’t win the award, or be cited, (an award that was presumably never given out- how shrewd).   

          Arriving on campus, past the new Target, and the face-lifted Dinkytown, how economic- (oh) progressive, I found a vast amount of amateur bicyclists mingling in packs, not following the paths, wearing helmets on handlebars- abrasive, while generally having small regard for their surroundings.  I took note of a driver maneuvering a car while texting, and an aimless young athletic male (BRO) biking, weaving his way through the bike lane and into the street while on his phone, fedora affixed atop his blond hair streaming back, held down by a bandana. 

          I have no positive words for the kind of idiocy I have seen on campus when it comes to getting around.  I predict a record number of transit related accidents, injuries, and worse (other euphemisms here), this year, 2014.  This is not because people genuinely like putting themselves in danger, or under buses so to speak, but because the life within their phone is evidently more important than the life in front of their bodies. 

          I am not being pessimistic, I am being honest.  Whoever won the contest to make the campus safer deserves a gold star, because they persuaded it/sort of didn’t win it, and slyly.  I applaud you.  I would have done the same but I am more of an outsider when it comes to making friends high up; I won’t do the photo shoot if I don’t like the cameraman (metaphor). 

           The U is no safer now for commuters than it was a year ago.  As a matter of thought, it is most likely more dangerous because people feel that it is safer.  Telling individuals this and that without actually having them observe the act does not prove a point.  Take a seat in the grass and watch.  In time one will see this conundrum acted out over and over again.  The situation is somewhat entertaining, if you aren’t involved with it.

          When I sat taking in the sun between classes, near Coffman Union, I noticed one obvious sign of the times; something that’s been there, but seemed more prevalent today, people were engaged more with their electronics than anything else, they were living in a virtual world which exists in their hands.  They seldom took in the views before them, they noticed little in their path.  On such a beautiful day it was sad and dangerous, heads down; stuck in a box- dangerously isolated.   

          If the campus wants change they must cite people for walking brazenly down the center of the bike lanes, while texting, or not- just being ignorant.  They must position public safety attendants at problem areas, to direct students, until they can finally read signage and adhere to the brightly painted traffic instructions.  They, the university, must do their best to capture the attention of those on the go. 

          When I left this morning, I was nervous for the first day of school, as are most.  That exhilarating feeling of taking in knowledge, and expanding my experience with education had me trepid, something I live for.  Yet when I came to campus I was more shaken because of my safety and the safety of others, the safety directly related to the lack of attention and ignorance/apathy people put into their movements.  A safe campus requires thoughtfulness, and a conscious mindset.  If I am worried about selfies and notifications I am not worried about crosswalks and lines on the ground; appropriate signals, on my inevitable journey to and fro. 

Which is more important? 

Also see:  Woman fatally struck by Green Line train was Mpls. attorney

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A dangerous relationship; how BNSF will end Amtrak

“Our records indicate that you are scheduled to depart on Amtrak train number 28 from St.-Paul-Minneapolis-Minnesota at 8:00AM on Friday August 8 and arriving in La-Crosse-Wisconsin.
That schedule has been affected by late-operations. Alternate transportation is being provided over some or all of your route. To speak to an Amtrak representative about travel options call us at 8772319448 at your earliest convenience.

We apologize for any inconvenience and want to thank you for being a valued Amtrak customer.

Sincerely,
Amtrak”  preston

Amtrak PDF: Amtrak Empire Builder Detours in North Dakota to Speed …
A dangerous relationship; how BNSF will end Amtrak,

Recently, times couldn’t be harder for Amtrak. The passenger train empire has been delayed indefinitely because of crude oil and fracking freight in North Dakota and Montana. As if America’s transit infrastructure couldn’t get worse, ironically so, it has. As we speak, passengers suffer major delays throughout the country while BNSF halts passenger travel for freight with priority, dangerously so; Amtrak pulls to the side as non-renewable resources are transferred nationwide, these detours and pull-offs create increasing stays at the station.

Generally, I take Amtrak for transit out of the Twin Cities area, to southern Minnesota. As I am not a car owner, the prospect of any bus, plane, or rail travel is ideal, and more environmentally sound than said car, yet if it doesn’t serve its purpose as a timely institute it lacks the one quality it relies on; movement.

Several times I have attempted to take Amtrak and each attempt varied only in wait time: a possible “three hour” delay, and a new list of excuses. One thing that remained the same was: we took a bus. The last time this happened, I took the opportunity to inquire as to why. The melancholic voice on the line described how he was unsure if he would have a job at Amtrak in a year because of delays caused by BNSF; passengers were keen to the plights of rail travel, and profit numbers were down. I hung up the phone with nostalgic thoughts of young America confident in its punctual mode of transportation; the locomotive.

It is truly sad to comprehend that the very thing that started the expansion of this great nation, the U.S., will get brought to a screeching halt by the depletion of natural resources and the need for corporate expansion. The Amtrak attendant explained that once the oil fields dry up the tracks will run smoothly again, because BNSF owns the rails on which that stretch of land (North Dakota and Montana) sits, and the land the rails sit on- that being said,  they won’t allow Amtrak to build on their land. It seems a futile enterprise.

Apparently BNSF is building an alternative track for freight; however that remains to be seen.

Amtrak has to realize that complimentary donuts and bottled water won’t make up for trains not being in at the station; and buses are not trains. The slap in the face comes when buses are sitting outside of the station and  trains are sitting near oil rigs, or near fracking sites, in another state; Amtrak attendants had previous knowledge and neglected to mention this on the ticket sight.

Why won’t America prioritize progressive and environmentally friendly travel- travel that America built itself on?

Is it because of natural resources and the money made from the sales of?

Irony comes hard when one must take a car over train travel because the resources that fuel that car are holding up passengers trains at the station.

Has the need for more seized the growth of railway transit in America, or have we neglected the very thing that could promote better transit throughout the nation?

I thought of this on a bus sitting at a train crossing waiting for BNSF freight cars to go by while our train sat in another state, this was in Winona, MN.