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What happens if you ride through a walk only zone?

Four years into the policy, some Sun Devils are still unaware

Passing students respecting the walk-only zones on Saturday, Sep. 16, 2016, on the ASU campus in Tempe, Arizona.
Passing students respecting the walk-only zones on Saturday, Sep. 16, 2016, on the ASU campus in Tempe, Arizona.

For some students at ASU, the walk only zones on Tempe campus are a necessary evil.

“I’m trying to board,” Kyle Olson, business management sophomore and longboarder, said. “I’m trying to get to class as quickly as possible but obviously you don’t want to be running people over.”

ASU’s walk only policy, in effect for four years, exists as a way to mitigate traffic on Tempe campus’s more densely populated areas such as the area surrounding the Memorial Union.

Shereen Shaw, communications specialist for ASU Parking and Transit Services, the group responsible for enforcing the zones, said that safety takes priority in creating and maintaining walk only areas.

“We have, as I’m sure you know, many different modes of transportation that students and faculty and staff take to traverse the Tempe campus," Shaw said. "These zones are ways to help manage that mixed mode of transportation to ensure safety for everyone.”

While many on the Tempe campus know of the walk only zones and know not to ride through them, the punishment for breaking this rule is not as well known.

“The first offense is a written warning,” Shaw said. “And then a second offense would be, for students, they would have to attend an ASU Police bicycle safety class, and for employees, they would need to attend an ASU driving on the mall class.”

The first offense punishment of a written warning is, according to Shaw, a way to promote compliance.

Shaw compared the first offense to parking at an expired parking meter on an ASU campus.

“Parking at an expired meter, if you do that for your first time, you would receive a warning just in the vain of wanting to educate people about what the rules are about parking and not putting that immediate fine associated with that warning," she said.

Shaw said that, just like parking at an expired meter on campus, by the second offense, the offender is expected to have learned the rules.

“By a first violation we understand that there are many new students every year, every semester that may not know what the rules are,” she said. “So we educate them with these written warnings, but by the second infraction they need to be abiding by these guidelines that are in place.”

Walk only is enforced by a group of student workers called Campus Mall Enforcement Officers.

“We like that peer to peer interaction,” Shaw said.

Still, while entering walk only’s fourth year, there have are problems of enforcement between walk only’s staff patrolling the zones and students riding their chosen mode of transportation on campus.

Mario Munez, a criminology and criminal justice major was a walk only enforcer for about a year.

“Some are grateful towards you and some don’t care about you,” Munez said about his time in the zones.

Munez said that walk only tends to be enforced by the honor system, as student enforcers cannot physically force rule breakers to walk in the zone, and added that the amount of those who don’t walk through the zones tended to be too many to keep track of.

“A lot of people, they really don’t care,” Munez said. “As a worker you can’t really do much. You can’t knock them off their bike or anything.”

Despite this, Munez still sees a value to the zones.

“It does seem kind of stupid at times, and I understand why people get mad,” Munez said. “But while I was working I’ve seen a lot of accidents happen.”


Reach the reporter at jdarge@asu.edu or follow  @jeffdarge on Twitter.

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