Nunez: Jaywalking on campus streets is a risk that isn’t worth taking

Julianna Nunez

People seem perplexed when I say Evanston is a dangerous place for me to drive. True, Evanston does not have excessive gang violence, and I generally do not feel any threat to my safety while driving. However, what I do feel is a threat to the people who insist on jaywalking to get where they’re going.

I don’t have a problem with jaywalking in and of itself. Overall, jaywalking can offer a more efficient way of getting to where you need to be without having to worry about going to a crosswalk, especially when the crosswalk is well out of your way.

Nonetheless, there is a difference between jaywalking and being an obnoxious pedestrian.

I see jaywalking the most by Alice Millar Chapel, where students think they can cross in front of cars when there is a green light. I have seen cars that almost had to screech to a halt because a horde of students decided they needed to get to class that very second.

Now, I won’t say that I am totally innocent and have never jaywalked in my life. On the contrary, I jaywalk frequently, but I only do this when there is no traffic. I have seen other people do this as well and I do not have an issue with it.

I only worry when I’m about to see a car take down a student.

Despite being a Chicago native, I had to wait a year before I was able to drive my car to campus due to University policy. I was excited to be able to drive around Evanston, but I did not realize how dangerous it would be.

None of my feelings of apprehension have been related to the weather. The only thing that makes me scared to drive in Evanston is the idea of accidentally hitting a student.

At night, I can see the silhouettes of students against the beam of my headlights. That alone should be scary for students; when people are driving at night, they can barely recognize you as a person until they get close. A driver will not be able to recognize a student in full light until it is far too late.

Jaywalking is especially dangerous during the winter. It was only a few weeks ago when the streets were hidden under a blanket of snow. Crosswalks are only made distinct by the street lights, and lighter cars are more likely to slide when the driver hits the breaks.

When the snow clears, students should still be cautious. Patches of ice are difficult to distinguish at all times of the day, so there is always the threat of a car sliding on ice

Keep in mind that this is not the case of a reckless driver harping on pedestrians. I have a clean driving record and have never driven over the speed limit.

That said, it still worries me when I see a student dart across the street, not realizing that drivers are going at a much faster speed than it seems.

All I ask is for students (I say students because they are the repeat offenders I have witnessed) to be more aware when they cross the street. Don’t try to outrun what is essentially a 4,000-pound bullet.

Julianna Nunez is a Medill sophomore. She can be reached at [email protected]

All opinions expressed in this column are solely the opinions of the columnist and do not reflect the views of The Daily Northwestern. If you would like to respond to the column, you may comment below, email the columnist or submit a 300-word letter to the editor to [email protected]