The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

A bridge too far: Bridge the gap between what students and the Board of Trustees want instead

We all know that South Road has congestion problems, especially during the school day. But a pedestrian bridge over the busiest crossing in front of Student Stores will not solve the problem.

The bridge is not officially cancelled, though the Board of Trustees has indicated that they will probably not bring it up again this year.

But what is needed is a commitment to scrap the project permanently.

The decision to put the bridge on hold makes sense. In tough economic times it is difficult to justify the $8 million to $9 million price tag. The money is already set aside for pedestrian safety, but there are plenty of other ways to spend it. The BOT should look into traffic lights, more crossing guards, or improving other intersections.

As students we have voiced our opinion. We do not want a bridge. Of more than 1,300 students surveyed last fall, 90 percent opposed the project. Administrators claim that student opinion is not what stalled the project — but a 90 percent disapproval rate is hard to ignore.

Not only would the bridge be expensive and unpopular, but there are also questions about whether or not it would even make a dent in the traffic problem.

The crossing in front of student stores might be the busiest, but there are plenty of other places where pedestrians cross South Road. A bridge over one part of the road likely wouldn’t do anything to address traffic problems elsewhere.

Pedestrians will never fail to speak with their feet. It is unrealistic to expect students to walk an extra block to cross a bridge. If it is ugly, crowded or inconvenient, students are likely to avoid it.

A pedestrian bridge over South Road is just unnecessary. We are happy to see that the BOT is listening to student opinion and backing off on the project. They should do so permanently.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.