Hopkins students get Walking 101

Johns Hopkins University students are brainy about many things. University officials are the first to admit that walking isn't one of them.

In the wake of a program last spring that included giving students "I Practice Safe X-ing" T-shirts, Hopkins is stepping up its efforts to make sure students are walking safely with what it's calling its “Road Scholar” campaign.

Baltimore will notice it, too, as thousands of canary-colored shoes start appearing today near the intersection of St. Paul and 33rd streets. That's one of the university's most notorious spots for "pedtextrians," students blithely waltzing through traffic, heads buried in smart phones.

The university will hang 3,000 pairs of shoes -- footwear officials and volunteers spent months gathering and collecting. They're all spray-painted bright caution yellow to make them impossible to miss, along with their intended message that boils down to "watch where you're going, kids."

According to the university, "at least two" pedestrian-involved accidents happened there last year. The 3,000 shoes is supposed to represent that many people hit by cars in Maryland. Another 100 of the hanging shoes are white -- those represent people who died in those incidents.

The shoes are just the beginning of a multi-faceted campaign. Hopkins will also be cracking down on enforcement, installing sidewalk graphics and hanging bold reminder signs. Drivers, too, will be asked to be careful through signs on university buses and a banner hanging from the pedestrian bridge over San Martin Drive.

Hopkins also thinks long-planned improvements to Charles Street between 25th Street and University Parkway will make things safer for Homewood campus walkers.



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