People are familiar with the game “Crossy Road,” released in 2014. It is a mobile game where the player must avoid being flattened by cars while trying to cross the streets. UPA students and teachers who ride the VTA light rail encounter their real-life “Crossy Road” as they cross Canoas Garden Avenue to get to campus.
Public transportation has grown over the last few years, as “Americans have [taken] more than 10.1 billion trips via public transport in 2017,” according to the American Public Transportation Association.
This includes buses and specifically the light rail for students, like freshman Kylie Malone, who takes the light rail to and from school every day.
“It’s convenient and helpful if you have parents who can’t pick you up,” Malone said. “It’s fast and helps avoid traffic.”
It is not only convenient, but the costs are low as well, ranging from $1 for a single ride to $3 for a Clipper Card, which allows for prepaid access.
This is one of the reasons students use VTA, but for English teacher Claire Ballard, it holds a different reason.
“I use VTA so I can participate in a more environmentally friendly lifestyle,” Ballard said. “I don’t have to drive everyday.”
Although the benefits have proven to help students and teachers on a daily basis, incidents like strangers and crossing the street can make it dangerous.
“There is no clear path [between the campus and the station],” Ballard said. “I was almost hit two times from cars going in different directions. [Drivers] saw me and and they slowed down, but didn’t stop.”
Cars that habitually do not stop for pedestrians and a lack of a designated crosswalk is a recipe for disaster. But the problem does not stop there, as the common saying “stranger danger” can come into play.
“If you go [to VTA] by yourself, you do get approached by some random people,” Malone said. “It happened to me last month. There was this man who started yelling at me. It’s generally safer to stay in groups.”
UPA could do more to improve these situations and make taking the VTA safer for both teachers and students. Groups could be arranged based on destination to combat stranger encounters. Another helpful solution would be the implementation of a designated crosswalk and perhaps a crossing guard. This way, students will not have to face the torrent of cars at the intersection. A crossing guard or even a supervisor can help regulate traffic and direct students and teachers to the campus. The school being located across the street from a VTA station has already provided students with a accessible and easy mode of transportation, but safety remains a concern.