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Speaking Out

Pedestrian Safety

On March 17, 2005 at about 5:10 p.m., I was walking on the sidewalk along University Avenue towards 39th and Spruce Streets. All of a sudden, I was startled by some honking and constant blaring of a loud horn. Shockingly, there was a dark blue, battery-operated, small vehicle behind me “speeding” through the sidewalk, jeopardizing the safety of the pedestrians along the sidewalk. As there was no license plate or any identification features on this vehicle I decided to follow it to an alley between the garage and Stouffer College House at Spruce Street. The driver of the vehicle had no ID badge  so I can’t identify him except for his physical features, which I would rather not mention.

In the past, bicyclists were given citation for riding their bikes on the sidewalk around the campus and I was wondering if the motorized vehicles belonging to Penn have no such rules. Being a city street does it come under the jurisdiction of Philadelphia Police?

—Name Withheld

Ed. Note: Almanac does not accept anonymous letters but does have a process for withholding the name of the writer.



In response to the concern with the operation of maintenance vehicles on sidewalks thereby threatening the safety of pedestrians: the University of Pennsylvania Police Department has contacted the manager of the University department responsible for the operation of such vehicles. The department has been advised that Penn Police officers will cite any driver if the vehicle is observed being operated in a manner that jeopardizes the safety of pedestrians. The vehicles in question are utilized for inner-campus deliveries, and operators of these vehicles will be advised that they must use extreme caution when driving any cart inside the campus area. Traffic safety, and in particular the safety of pedestrians, remains a high priority within the University of Pennsylvania Police Department. It is important to note that the Penn Police Department, in concert with several other University departments, gathers on a monthly basis to review traffic safety initiatives, identify problematic areas and meet with City of Philadelphia traffic engineers to resolve these issues. We have made numerous recommendations to the City, some of which are protracted projects that will take some time to implement, however, we have been successful at implementing numerous safety initiatives, such as the installation of the “No-U-Turn” signs along the 38th Street corridor.

In 2004, as part of our “Share the Road” campaign initiatives, Penn Police officers issued over 2,000 traffic citations directly related to unsafe driving and 5,000 parking citations. Monitoring of traffic and issuance of citations has a direct impact on traffic safety. With diligent and effective patrol techniques our officers have also confiscated, through the City of Philadelphia’s “Live Stop” program,  over 100 vehicles from motorists who were either unlicensed or operating an unregistered vehicle. 

 The Penn Police Department will continue to work with City agencies and Divisions within the University to increase the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists as they traverse the sidewalks and streets on and around the Penn campus.

—Mark J. Dorsey, Chief of Police, UPPD


Speaking Out welcomes reader contributions. Short, timely letters on University issues will be accepted by Thursday at noon for the following Tuesday’s issue, subject to right-of-reply guidelines. Advance notice of intention to submit is appreciated. —Eds.



  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 26, March 29, 2005


March 29, 2005
Volume 51 Number 26


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