After first semester in operation, Walk-Only Zones enhance student safety on campus

ASU’s Walk-Only Zones were created to enhance pedestrian safety and ease vehicle congestion on campus, but a few months after the policy was instituted, students have mixed feelings about the enforcement and placement of these zones.

Walk-Only Zone enforcement times are from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. on weekdays in the area around the Memorial Union and Hayden Library in the Tempe campus. Although the zone has been successful in reducing on campus injuries, some students contend that they are inconvenient and could be improved.

Walk-Only Zone Ambassador Gustavo McGrew said he thinks that the Walk-Only Zones are working to enhance student safety for those who comply.

“Crashes have reduced significantly,” McGrew said. “I haven’t seen nearly as many crashes as last year. About 80 percent of students comply with the Walk-Only Zones, and the other 20 percent don’t.”

Walk-Only Zone Ambassador Omkar Deshpande said expansion of the zones could be on its way next semester, when ASU enters phase two and three of the program.

“They could hire more ambassadors,” Deshpande said. “They should be more strict with people. (A) few don’t even care this is a Walk-Only Zone. They could give the ambassadors some power or impose restrictions for people who ride bicycles and longboards.”

Engineering major Shawn Womack said the Walk-Only Zones need stronger enforcement.

“If you’re going to have Walk-Only Zones, you need to really enforce them,” Womack said. “Have more people working or have someone who is really strict about it.”

The Walk-Only Zones are about safety, he said. Stronger enforcement would only affect the “rule breakers” and would be necessary to make sure the Walk-Only Zones are really being taken seriously, Womack said.

“I think they should ticket or have consequences for people who disregard the Walk-Only Zones especially since the purpose of the Walk-Only Zones are safety,” Womack said. “Some people are really reckless on longboards or bikes, and they just go way too fast or are way too careless, and it causes injuries.”

Exploratory junior Ryan West said the Walk-Only Zones are an unnecessary inconvenience for students.

“As a person that rides a long board, I don’t like it, because you have to plan to leave earlier for class,” West said. “And its located in the main part of campus, so it’s inconvenient to try to avoid them.”

Dividing the Walk-Only Zone pathways in half and allowing students on one side to use their long board or bike while pedestrian students use the other side could be a way of still enforcing safety and convenient traveling, West said.

“I think the Walk-Only Zones are pretty ridiculous as it is, and if they started giving tickets that would be a little bit overboard,” West said. “As a third year at ASU, I’ve seen two years of riding long boards without this, and I think it was fine.”


Reach the reporter at acataruz@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @AleksCatz