The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
Chris Matthews: Inspiring language learners at home and abroad
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024
The best cafés to caffeinate and cram for finals
By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

Editorial | Oakland desperately needs to improve its traffic signage

Street+signs+at+the+intersection+of+Bates+Street+and+Semple+Street.+
Hannah Levine | Staff Photographer
Street signs at the intersection of Bates Street and Semple Street.

Walking back home after you pick up your takeout from Shah’s on Semple Street should be a harmless affair, but tragically, many people must take their dinner home across the death trap that is the intersection of Semple and Bates Street. 

With its southern curb perpetually lined with parked cars, pedestrians crossing in the direction of campus cannot see oncoming traffic through this thick metal facade. They must either walk into the road with the blind faith that a car isn’t approaching quicker than 20 miles per hour or carefully inch into the intersection, straining their neck to see like a wounded giraffe. 

Neither of these options are great, considering the one that makes you look stupid lands you right in the line of traffic by the time you can see any oncoming cars anyway. There are yield signs on the road to protect the crosswalks, but drivers tend not to pay any attention to those unless somebody is actively walking across the street by the time they pull up. 

Semple and Bates is only one of many spots around Oakland where the grim reaper hangs out, dancing where a stop sign should be. The intersection of North Dithridge and Bayard Street has the same heavy foot traffic with no real signage to protect pedestrians. As unfortunate as it is, a yellow yield sign has the same authority for cars as the No Jaywalking signs have for students crossing Forbes Avenue outside Hillman Library.

Oakland needs stop signs and stoplights consistently throughout its intersections for the safety of pedestrians. One block over from Semple’s death trap, the intersection of Bates and Atwood Street has traffic lights, so students don’t need to worry about being struck by two tons of steel on their daily walk to class. The stoplight rarely backs up traffic, and people can save their gambling luck for a scratch-off rather than wasting it blindly walking across the street.

Traffic lights are generally a better solution than stop signs because just as cars ignore yield signs, students often ignore the crossing order at stop signs. Many editors here at The Pitt News are guilty of forcing a car to wait a few extra seconds at Bouquet Street and Sennott Street because we were late to class and had to cross the moment we got to the intersection. While stop signs can work just fine on the outskirts of Oakland’s residential areas, the high-traffic areas of the neighborhood would benefit most from a simple stoplight. 

We must prioritize the safety of pedestrians, especially in a neighborhood with students wandering the streets at all hours of the day and night. A high-speed block of metal has the potential to ruin somebody’s life at every intersection it cruises through — we shouldn’t jeopardize the safety of Oakland’s residents just so a car doesn’t have to wait for a few seconds at a red light.

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