City News Editor
Like most CC students, sophomore Xander Fehsenfeld never expected to be hit by a car while crossing North Cascade Ave.
On Jan. 20, Fehsenfeld was walking to Tutt Library while talking on his cell phone. When he was about three-quarters of the way across the crosswalk, he happened to glance right only to see headlights approaching him with no indication of stopping.
“I tried to run toward the median but wasn’t fast enough,” said Fehsenfeld. “Bystanders later told me I dove toward the other side and the car hit my legs and I flipped, or somersaulted in the air and landed on my back in the grass in the median.”
This is not the first accident involving a student and a motor vehicle on campus. In a report by Colorado College Transportation published in February 2013, 13 pedestrians, bicyclists, or skateboarders had been involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, eight on Cascade crosswalks and five on Nevada crosswalks from 2000-2012.
Four have resulted in minor injuries, three in major injuries, and one in a concussion.
Despite the speed at which the female drive was thought to have hit Fehsenfeld, he suffered only some bruising and abrasions.
“I think the lady hit me at full speed, probably 30 mph, because I didn’t hear the squeal of tires until after she hit me,” said Flefneshed. “If I hadn’t moved to evade her I think I would have at least been concussed and broke bones and at most been killed.”
The accident raises the question of what improvements can be made to pedestrian safety on and around campus. The Transportation Master Plan, a special subsection of the Citizens’ Transportation Advisory Board, has worked to address such concerns since its creation in 2012.
So far, The Transportation Master Plan is still a work in progress. According to Colorado College Liaison for the project, Robert Moore, the finalized proposal has yet to be submitted to the CTAB.
“Right now we are finished with the community hearing things and, the project manager, Tim Seibert of N.E.S. Inc, and the traffic engineer [Todd Frisbie] of Felsburg Holt & Ullevig, are doing the technical work,” said Moore. “The rest of the board will take that information and consider the right action to take.”
As of now, there are deadlines for neither the technical work nor the submission of the plan to the CTAB.
President Jill Tiefenthaler understands that there is no easy solution to pedestrian safety because of the need to balance with traffic efficiency.
“We’re trying to find a solution that will allow for our campus to feel like it is part of such a vibrant city and still be accessible to students and the community,” said Tiefenthaler. “I know that right now the two lanes and the flashing lights are issues in terms of visibility.”
Despite the accidents in the past and the one involving Fehsenfeld, there is so far no indication that the technicalities and the finalization of The Transportation Master Plan will finish anytime soon.
“Clearly what happened two weeks ago is another example that we need to calm things down,” Moore said. “We would hope it would advance the progression of the plan. There have been accidents in the past though, and there still wasn’t community wide support for changes. Whether one more incident would change peoples’ minds, I don’t know.”