These streets weren’t made for walking

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

By Kai Zhang | Contributor

In 2016, Baylor University decided to close down 3rd Street on its campus as a means to make the school more “pedestrian friendly.” This street was once largely used because it passed by Moody Memorial Library, a popular spot for Baylor students to study or spend time with fellow classmates. Since closing 3rd Street to all cars, students are now forced to either park their cars further away and walk to the library or find another (longer) route to the library that is inconvenient for their commute.

After careful observation these past few years, I have noticed that Baylor students have a natural propensity to walk on the sidewalks despite having the option to walk freely in the streets. All throughout our childhood, parents and teachers have always cautioned us to “stay out of the streets” because it is predominantly used by cars. Baylor’s decision to block cars from driving on Third Street is counter-intuitive because students have not efficiently utilized the streets as a means to walk on. The premise behind closing the street down was to make Baylor’s campus more “pedestrian-friendly” and encourage more walking throughout the campus; however, students are not using the empty street to walk in. Therefore, the lack of usage of 3rd Street by pedestrians defeats the purpose of closing it down for cars to drive on.

Another issue that has risen due to the closing of 3rd Street on Baylor’s campus is that students are now forced to find alternative options to get to popular spots. One of the most popular locations on Baylor’s campus is Moody Memorial Library. Students typically have had access to Moody Memorial Library by driving through 3rd Street; however, students who live off campus must now park their car further away and walk to the library or must re-route and access the library by driving along University Park Drive. Both of these options are inconvenient for students and ultimately result in traffic build-up and a lack of parking spots. Furthermore, students who park further away and must walk create a safety liability if they are walking back to their cars late at night in the dark.

A simple solution to this problem would be to re-open 3rd Street for students to drive on. The idea of blocking off 3rd Street from cars was not a bad idea. However, I believe that it was poorly executed because administration did not take into consideration the fact that students just do not naturally walk in the streets. Baylor Police Department can increase its patrol surveillance on that street to ensure pedestrian safety and monitor drivers. By re-opening 3rd Street for students to drive on, students will be able to access Moody Memorial Library without having to worry about finding parking spots or drive out of their way to simply go study.

Kai Zhang
San Clemente, Calif.
Senior business marketing & entrepreneurship/corporate innovation major