Staff editorial: Crackdown needed on offenders who remove walkway posts

When traversing campus, being pummeled by delivery trucks or fleeting cars should be the least of students’ concerns.

Unfortunately, despite recent precautions, this isn’t the case at UH.

This summer, Plant Operations placed removable red posts on campus sidewalks – many of which are located at Cullen Plaza, Cougar Plaza and the Roy G. Cullen fountain area – to prevent heavy truck traffic through campus walkways.

Trucks were driving in the middle of campus where there was heavy pedestrian traffic, ruining the sidewalks and putting students in the vulnerable position of having to dodge vehicles at a time when they least expected it.

This placed an added concern for the disabled who use wheelchairs and are less likely to dodge passing trucks as quickly as some pedestrians.

"There were a couple occasions when (drivers) were putting pedestrians in danger. They almost ran over people in wheelchairs," Director of Plant Operations Dave Irvin said.

Despite the implementation of the posts this summer, students walking across campus still aren’t safe from the large trucks that look as if they’re driving down Interstate 45.

Unauthorized drivers are now simply driving up to the posts – which are supposed to be locked into place – pulling them out of the ground, getting back in their cars and driving down the walkways. And sometimes the drivers just leave the posts on the walkway.

The only people that have the authority to remove or unlock the posts are drivers of emergency and police vehicles, Irvin said.

"They’re supposed to be locked down at all times, unless we need to get an emergency vehicle or police car into a critical area or for construction purposes."

It’s unsettling to know that random people are removing the posts, posing a danger to students and defacing the overall aesthetics of the campus.

Students shouldn’t have to suffer for the negligence of people who feel the need to break the rules and drive across campus.

More precautions need to be taken to ensure that the locks are secured and these rules are enforced properly in case an actual incident arises in which emergency vehicles need to be dispatched.

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