Put student safety first

The University of Nevada, Reno’s tendency to spend tens of millions of dollars on new buildings but not to look out for its students’ basic safety says a lot about its supposed standing as a Tier 1 university.

Remember when J.K. Metzker was killed crossing Virginia Street? After Metzker was run down, it seemed the community finally had the drive to fix the problem, but eventually some inconsequential changes were made, and the university was able to go back to talking about how great it is rather than taking the steps to becoming the thing it claims it already is.

How many students every year get hit or narrowly missed while crossing to and from the university? A Tier 1 university that is more about using the big brains on campus to solve problems than cleaning out the parents’ big wallets would have fixed this problem decades ago.

True, this would require the city of Reno and the region of Northern Nevada to get on board with the IBM Smarter Cities plan for more collaboration, but we know that if the entities’ hearts were in the right places, this perennial problem would already be—just like the Getchell library—a thing of the past.

The traffic on Evans, Virginia, Sierra and Ninth streets needs to be slowed. Throughout Reno, traffic calming devices have been installed with great success in slowing the traffic down, at least in the specific area where the traffic device is placed. As a public service, the Reno News & Review would like to suggest that the city of Reno and UNR work together to put every crosswalk that borders and leads to that university onto a speed bump that would rip the axles off anyone who travels faster than 15 miles per hour over it. Evans and Ninth streets could each have a few traffic calming devices installed. North Sierra Street could first go on a road diet and lose a lane, and then have traffic calming devices and raised crosswalk/speed bumps installed in appropriate places.

This is not a difficult problem. In fact, since the city and the university have both said that they want to increase interaction between the two spheres, it seems like a win-win: Make the area more pedestrian friendly, and there just might be more pedestrians.

There are many solutions to this problem, the fact that the city and the school have not gotten together to solve it makes the biggest statement about the quality of the school. “What, the School of Engineering can’t figure this out? Sure, sign me up.”

There’s the answer; now go ahead and just reappropriate some of that building money to a construction project that will help protect students’ lives.

Now if only the Integrated Marketing Department would just get the concept that the word “Nevada” has many meanings, but “UNR” is unique, we’d have a basis to begin talking in the same language and connecting UNR with the city of Reno. Connecting Reno’s business community with the university’s capitol improvement administration has plainly not worked in anyone’s favor.