It was still bright outside in the after- noon when Park Yu-ri (Pharmacy, 4) was walking down the steep slope between the Pharmaceutical Science Buildings and Ewha-POSCO Building between her classes and was almost hit by a car.
“I was lucky enough to step aside that time,” Park recalled. “But it was not my first or the last experience encountering speeding cars at the spot. Our campus is not a safe zone from the traffic accidents.”
According to the Office of General Affairs (OGA), daily traffic on Ewha campus reaches roughly 1,600 to 1,700 vehicles, which can surge to 2,000 at peak. However, road safety on campus is questioned.
Like in Park’s case, pedestrians on campus are often threatened by speeding cars. The school regulates the maximum speed on campus at 20 kilometers per hour, yet some drivers do not observe the limit.
“Drivers tend to speed up on flat areas like the road in front of the Student Union building or in front of the Welch-Ryang Auditorium,” said Kim Young-sang, a personnel from the OGA who is in charge of the vehicle regulation on campus.
Although the school has set up signs on the road instructing drivers, such as speed limit or one-way signs to protect pedestrians from danger, perilous situations happen.
“The downhill curve from the Hanwoori Dormitory to the Music Hall is a one-way road, however, some drivers neglect the signs and come down the hills anyways,” Kim said. “Also, since that road has a sharp curve and no sidewalks, pedestrians walking along the road are in great danger.”
The school puts more effort to improve road safety on campus. The OGA assigns traffic controllers who guide pedestrians and drivers on campus from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays. The traffic controllers are assigned at cautionary zones on campus that are considered dangerous. After 4:00 p.m. when the traffic controllers are off guard, the OGA puts more light on the roads so that pedestrians can see better.
Also, the Facilities Maintenance Department at the Office of Financial Affairs plans to install more speed bumps and road signs and repaint faded sidewalk lines on campus.
The OGA posted a notice on the Ewha homepage (http://www.ewha.ac.kr) asking pedestrians on campus to pay more attention to avoid accidents with cars.
“Pedestrians should use the sidewalk at all times and stop using cellular phones and earphones when crossing crosswalks or walking on roads,” the notice read.
Pedestrians should also follow the instructions of traffic controllers on campus.
“Many times, pedestrians do not follow our instructions when they are crossing the road and they lead to dramatically dangerous situations,” said Kim Seok-in, the traffic controller in front of the Main Gate. “It is safe to pay attention to our instructions and follow. People might want to save a few seconds by dangerously passing through the cars, but it can lead to harsh accidents.”