Editorial: UCLA must invest resources in education surrounding Bruin Walk’s dismount zone
An empty Bruin Walk with a sign that reads “Welcome Bruins!”. The area between the Los Angeles Tennis Center and Powell Library is a dismount zone, but some Bruins may not be aware of this. UCLA should make the effort to educate students on not riding on wheels in this area. (Kanishka Mehra/Daily Bruin senior staff)
By Editorial Board
Feb. 13, 2022 9:37 p.m.
Editor’s note: Editorials are intended to serve as the jumping-off point, not the conclusion, to discussion. As part of the Daily Bruin’s commitment to its readers, the board hopes to present a responsible and clear analysis of relevant events and news items affecting the lives of those we serve, but our editorials are not representative of the Daily Bruin’s views on issues as a whole. We encourage all readers to reach out to our board members and to respond to our editorials.
UCLA’s campus is almost 100 years old, and with old age comes problems. In the face of an ever-changing world, the editorial board examines what the university can do to keep Bruins safe from a torrent of dangers, whether they be natural or man-made.
It’s a busy weekday morning and Bruins are rushing to class. In the crowd, students on bikes, scooters and skateboards fly past – some at high speeds.
This experience can be dangerous for everyone, especially on Bruin Walk, one of the densest pedestrian walkways at UCLA.
Since 2009, the section of Bruin Walk extending from the Los Angeles Tennis Center to Powell Library has been designated as a “dismount zone” where people on bikes, scooters, rollerblades and skateboards must dismount and walk.
However, without ample signs or information indicating the zone’s existence, students may be unaware they can’t transit Bruin Walk on wheels.
Considering that many underclassmen are on campus for the first time following pandemic campus closures, you cannot blame them for being unaware – the university has not made a significant effort to notify them of the zone. And that creates problems for both riders – who can be fined more than $200 for failing to dismount – and pedestrians.
Expensive citations of already cash-strapped students should not be the focus of the university and UCPD. As this board wrote when the dismount zone was first put in place, UCLA should educate Bruins rather than penalize them.
Last week, UCLA Transportation sent out an email and briefly mentioned the dismount zone at the tail end of the message. This is a good start, but much more can be done to share information about the zone with students. The policy cannot protect students if the majority of the student body doesn’t know about it.
An effective method is placing more visible and prominent signage along Bruin Walk to make students aware that the area is a dismount zone. This is a simple and quick step that the university can immediately take.
Digital campaigns on UCLA’s social media platforms and campuswide announcements can also inform students about the policy.
Not to mention, the school should take the more hands-on approach of temporarily stationing people on the walkway to notify students of the designated zone. Event staff – who are routinely used for sports games and other crowded events at UCLA – can stand on the edges of Bruin Walk to remind students to dismount. A few weeks of having verbal reminders could be enough to help change students’ current riding routines.
It is important for UCLA to encourage alternative forms of transportation, like bikes and scooters, so it must invest the resources to ensure that these vehicles are ridden safely. There are long-term solutions the university should consider that take into account student safety while providing options for students who wish to ride.
For example, UCLA can study options to implement a sectioned-off lane on Bruin Walk that is devoted solely to people on wheels. It could also continue expanding the connected bike lane network and alternate bike paths around campus like it did on Westwood Plaza.
These steps toward improving infrastructure could be sustainable long-term solutions – but to start, the university must immediately begin bringing attention to all campus dismount zones.
If not, an accident could be just around the corner.