August 23, 2005
05-209

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations

University Police step up efforts to assist VSU students and staffsafely cross North Patterson Street

The Valdosta State University Police Department has stepped up its efforts to assist students and faculty in getting across North Patterson Street in a safe manner. Officers are making one-on-one encounters with both pedestrians and drivers in a first phase of an effort to inform the public about existing laws.

For example, now that classes at VSU are in full session for fall, pedestrians are being briefed about the laws regarding crossing major streets without marked or painted crossings. Drivers are being made aware of the law on stopping for pedestrians in the marked crosswalks. An officer is assigned to stop traffic to assist in the crosswalk crossings.

"It is our intent to work alongside Valdosta City Police in a joint effort to take further actions to further instruct and then update enforcement actions," said VSU Police Sergeant Russell Severns. He said additional phases will include additional enforcement actions to change the current patterns of traffic use and pedestrian travel to result in a safe and manageable situation for the community.

Severns said a media campaign is being launched to inform the media and the public about the new initiatives in the area. He said the plan includes an educational campaign involving the joint efforts of the VSU Police Department and the Valdosta City Police Department.

"We actually have being going one on one with both pedestrian and vehicle offenders since August 16 utilizing uniformed officers on foot," said Severns. He added that discussion and verbal warnings for both pedestrians and drivers have been provided and literature from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety has been distributed.

Severns said VSU Police are utilizing foot and bicycle patrols for interpersonal interaction with officers meeting pedestrian offenders in progress and then providing educational information.

In addition, Severns said he anticipates the increased visibility will include the use of a variable message sign and a speed limit radar unit that will be displayed prominently near the front of the Main Campus. Other longer-term ideas, including additional signage and painted crossings, are being discussed with the cooperation of the City of Valdosta.