Pedestrians voice concern over split of Division and Broadway - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Pedestrians voice concern over split of Division and Broadway


Some area residents say they feel unsafe crossing the crosswalks in one of the busiest areas of Midtown, a tricky junction at Broadway, Division and 21st Avenue South.

"It's like Russian Roulette when you step out in the street," said Vanderbilt student Stella Yarbrough. "You don't know if a car's going to stop or not. I've been a few inches from a car once."

"It's a place I have to cross every day, and I've seen several close-calls," added Vanderbilt student David Staab. "Every day you have to take a half step to see if the car's going to stop. Usually, you have to make eye contact, and there's several times people just aren't paying attention. You have to retreat to this side of the road."

Few have more concerns about the safety of pedestrians on this busy stretch than Vanderbilt Associate Professor of Economics Malcolm Getz. Nearly three years ago, Getz was on a crosswalk at the split when he was hit by a car.

"I put a big bash in the hood of the car," said Getz. "My forehead put a spider on the windshield. I saw the storefronts across the street spinning, and I felt as though I was in a clothes washer, spinning as I tumbled down."

According to metro police, in four years, 21 vehicles have been involved in wrecks at the split of Division and Broadway. Two of those crashes involved pedestrians. 

"For whatever reason, motorists are not paying attention to crosswalks," said resident Donald Seitz. "They really need to because it's a matter of life and death."

While lights and signs have been added to crosswalks in recent years, Metro Public Works officials said the area is still being studied with more improvements coming in the 2014-15 fiscal year. Vanderbilt officials added the Jim Littlejohn Association has started a project to improve the flow of traffic.

"I think there are things that could be done with traffic synchronization that could be done to make it safer to cross the street," said Getz.

"One accident, one pedestrian being hit is too many," said Seitz.

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