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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UAPD starts traffic education program aimed to educate now, cite later

Simon Asher

Officer Randy Brown fills out written warning papers early Tuesday morning, Sept. 6, on the corner of Highland Avenue and Olive Road. Officer Brown said he hopes pedestrians and bicyclists pay attention when at crossings to keep everyone safer.

The start of the semester brings in new walking feet on campus and an increase in traffic. Because of this, during the month of September the University of Arizona Police Department will be educating pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists on campus about Arizona traffic laws.

As part of the UAPD Traffic Education Program, which began Sept. 6, officers will be stationed on different parts of campus stopping people as well as answering any questions that people may have about traffic laws and handing out educational pamphlets.

“We have a lot of students that come on campus from different countries, different states, all across the nation and a lot of students do not realize that bicycles are actually required to obey the same traffic laws as vehicles do,” said UAPD Sgt. Cindy Spasoff.

To fund the program, UAPD received a grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to prevent traffic collisions.

The GOHS supports the funding for bicycle and pedestrian safety and provides a variety of bicycle safety programs all around Arizona.

“The officers that are working are actually working for the grant, we are not just working patrol,” Spasoff said. “This is actually our designated time that we are doing this enforcement, and with that we get money from the governor of highway safety and that is to prevent the traffic collisions and any accidents.”

For the first week of the program, officers are focusing on stopping people and educating them on what they did wrong—not immediately citing people for traffic violations.

“We work with the UA and we want to educate the public versus give people citations for something they didn’t know how to do,” said Officer Rene Hernandez from the UAPD crime prevention unit. “Educate first and if we feel it’s necessary to cite someone then we will.”

Transparency is a new idea and something that is being striven for, according to Hernandez.

“We are announcing to people where we’re going to be, when and why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Hernandez said. “If there are any questions people can feel free to contact us.”

Officers will be at the locations listed below on:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 6 to Friday, Sept. 9 from 7–10 a.m. and 2–5 p.m.
  • Monday, Sept. 12 to Friday, Sept. 16 from 7–10 a.m. and 2–5 p.m.

“As much as it seems like bicycles and pedestrians are not part of traffic problems, they actually contribute a great amount because we have so much bicycle and pedestrian traffic on and off campus,” Spasoff said. “As much as it seems like it’s not that big of a deal, there is actually a lot of interaction between the two.”

Spasoff said at some point she hopes the number of accidents and tickets will decrease.

Wyatt Anderson, a music integrated studies junior, thinks there is a disconnect between bicyclists and pedestrians being mindful of traffic laws.

“I think that’s how law enforcement should work especially with students at a university,” Anderson said. “A lot of the times it’s just young kids that don’t know what to do.”

Officers will be at the following locations at the times listed above:

  • Cherry Avenue & University Boulevard
  • Fourth Street & Highland Avenue
  • Second Street & Highland Avenue
  • Second Street and Olive Street
  • The pedestrian tunnels on Warren Avenue
  • Highland Avenue and Olive Street
  • Sixth Street between Warren Avenue and Tyndall Avenue

Related: Find where the party is around the UA.

Follow Angela Martinez on Twitter.

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