WHY IS IT that students at the nation's 15th ranked university can't figure out how to cross the street?
These days it's almost impossible to drive down Charles Street past 34th Street without being accosted by a crowd of 10 or more Hopkins students edging across the roadway.
Since the renovation of two old apartment buildings as dormitories across the street from the Homewood campus of Hopkins, there have been consistent problems with students walking into traffic on their way to class. The new dorms house more than half of the freshman and sophomore classes, and this year marks the first time Hopkins is enforcing a two-year residency requirement on its students.
It also marks the beginning of what could develop into an all-out battle between Baltimore drivers and Hopkins students. With both parties believing they are fully in the right, with drivers speeding up, and students trudging smugly in front of them, it won't be long before someone is facing a lawsuit. (Not to mention somebody getting hurt.)
It's not a tough problem. There is a traffic light conveniently situated at the intersection of 34th and Charles -- all students need to do is pay attention to it. But, as we all know, it can't be that simple.
The obvious conclusion of any Baltimore driver who frequents this route is that Hopkins students cannot read traffic signals. Not only do they disregard them, but frequently they are seen stepping onto Charles in the midst of four lanes of oncoming rush-hour traffic.
Should a walkway be built over Charles, between 34th and the Homewood campus? This has been suggested repeatedly. But who would fund it? Is it the university's responsibility, or should the money come out of the taxpayers' pockets?
The best solution is to teach Hopkins students how to cross the street. It should be simple enough to do; they're some of the smartest college kids in the nation. How about a mandatory freshman course entitled, "Street-Crossing 101"?