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Pedestrian & Traffic Safety

A number of factors increase the risk of accidents for pedestrians and drivers traveling through the UW Oshkosh campus. The risk increases during class transition periods and in the early morning and evening hours.

We track our data, observe trends and monitor the discussions/complaints around this topic regularly. High Ave and Algoma Blvd are main thoroughfares through the City of Oshkosh and they’re also heavily traveled by students, employees and guests of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. These factors greatly affect the ease at which both drivers and pedestrians get around on campus. It’s also important to note that at several moments throughout a typical day a pedestrian is likely a driver and a driver is likely a pedestrian so both groups must understand how to safely get around.

Safety Initiative

UW Oshkosh Police Department developed an initiative that will help increase safety for pedestrians and create more awareness for laws and guidelines relating to pedestrian and traffic flow through campus.

Starting February 2019 UW Oshkosh Police will address pedestrian violations using a multi-faceted approach.

  • A media release addresses our mission and provides information to community members.
  • Titan Safety tokens provide positive reinforcement. Tokens are given to those observed doing the right thing on campus. Collect three tokens and they can be turned in at the UWO Police Department for a t-shirt.
  • Warnings will be issued for first violations of pedestrian and traffic laws, along with an information card explaining pedestrian laws. Citations will be issued for second violations.
  • Special enforcement periods will be held throughout the semester.
  • Driver stopped for violations will be issued information cards that explain right-of-way, controlled intersection, crosswalks and uncontrolled intersections. The cards will list forfeiture “fine” amounts.

Additional Information:

UWO Police provide the following information each year to the UW Oshkosh community: 

Pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic significantly increases each year during the fall semester and it’s important that we provide the correct information to keep everyone safe as they traverse through our campus whether it’s on foot, on bike, on a skateboard, in a vehicle or using some other form of transportation.

Below is traffic safety information from the State of Wisconsin and some additional “Special Notes” based on state statutes.

Please pay particular attention to the crosswalk information for both vehicles and pedestrians. This information is especially important along High Avenue and Algoma Boulevard, which are both two-lane, one-way, high-traffic streets involving multiple pedestrian crossings through campus.

Please remember that safety is the responsibility of all users of the roadways and crosswalks. Knowledge of the applicable laws will help everyone be safe. If you have questions please contact the UW Oshkosh Police Department at (920) 424-1212.

Driver Right of Way:

Consistent with State Statute 346.23(1), Drivers have the right of way at intersections controlled by a traffic signal when that signal is green. The pedestrian has the right of way if the signal is red or a “walk” signal is displayed for their direction of travel. If a pedestrian is at the crosswalk and there are no vehicles in the area that does not give them the right of way to cross because the pedestrian will see a don’t walk symbol or text displayed. A pedestrian can be issued a citation for walking against a “don’t walk” indication.

This is especially important in front of Dempsey Hall on Algoma Boulevard. There have been cases where drivers have stopped at a green light to allow pedestrians to cross. Although well-intentioned, it is a dangerous practice and contrary to the law. The other lane of traffic still has the green signal and this may cause a pedestrian/vehicle accident. Remember: At traffic-light-controlled intersections, the light and/or “walk” signal will determine the right of way for pedestrians and vehicles. 

Crosswalks

Consistent with State Statute 346.24:
346.24  Crossing at uncontrolled intersection or crosswalk.
346.24(1) At an intersection or crosswalk where traffic is not controlled by traffic control signals or by a traffic officer, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, or to a person riding a bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device in a manner which is consistent with the safe use of the crosswalk by pedestrianswho is crossing the highway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk. 

NOTE: An unmarked crosswalk would be an area that is not marked on the road but is a crosswalk from one sidewalk to another at an intersection.

346.24(3)Whenever any vehicle is stopped at an intersection or crosswalk to permit a pedestrian, bicyclist or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device to cross the roadway, the operator of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

No Crosswalk – Crossing the Street

346.24(2)No pedestrian, bicyclist or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run or ride into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is difficult for the operator of the vehicle to yield.

 

Clarifying Information

  1. It is important, especially in the area of Sage Hall, that pedestrians use crosswalks and traffic-controlled crosswalks (i.e. the “Hawk” crossing signal). Pedestrians do not have the right of way in areas that do not have a marked or unmarked crosswalk. 
  2. Vehicles are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing the road. However, pedestrians should not leave the curb with a car oncoming that could not safely stop in the distance available.
  3. If a vehicle is stopped in one lane, then all traffic in the other lane must also stop.  Again, this is an important point for the area in front of Dempsey Hall. It is unsafe to stop at a green light as vehicular traffic has the right of way at a green light. We encourage pedestrians to please use the button on the light pole in order to activate the traffic light to give pedestrians the right of way to cross.