Police: Jaywalkers a concern on May Weekend

Meghan Parmentier

The April 25 MyQ announcement warning students Hamden Police Department will ticket those who cross Whitney Avenue on areas other than the designated crosswalks was purposely distributed to the Quinnipiac community before May Weekend, according to Hamden Police Captain Ronald Smith.

“One of our big concerns at the police department is we don’t want any Quinnipiac students or citizens getting hit by a vehicle,” Smith said.

Many students don’t use the crosswalk, which brought on the decision to pay more attention to jaywalkers on Whitney Avenue, Smith said. Due to the large amount of pedestrian traffic seen during Quinnipiac’s past May Weekends, Smith made sure he emailed Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan ahead of time to have the university on board. The MyQ announcement thus served as a warning of the newly increased enforcement.

During the interview, Smith made reference to the 2007 death of 18-year-old Quinnipiac student Jennifer Herschkowitz, who was killed when a sober driver hit her with their vehicle as she crossed Whitney Avenue while intoxicated. Using a crosswalk could have saved her life, Smith said.

2007 was therefore the last school-sponsored May Weekend. Last weekend, Quinnipiac hired extra police officers to patrol the campuses. These extra officers “were able to keep more of an eye” on Whitney Avenue, Smith said.

According to Smith, police officers will now pay special attention to Whitney Avenue throughout the entire time Quinnipiac students are here, not only during May Weekend.

“The midnight shift is specifically instructed to give tickets or written warnings to those not using crosswalks,” Smith said. “It’s more of a safety issue than anything else.”

According to Smith, he has not yet heard any dissent from popular local businesses Whitney Bar and Grille and Andale Mexican Restaurant, or Dick’s, as some students and customers refer to it. This is due to the fact there are crosswalks accessible close to those establishments, Smith said.