The Pepperbox

The Student News Site of Arcata High School

The Pepperbox

The Pepperbox

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Am I the problem with the crosswalk?

“It just comes down to students choosing to make the right decision and not endangering themselves…”
Ell Franklin
Owen Peterson and Lennox Fricke preforming a fictional scenario of the result of crosswalk misuse

It’s the early fall of the 2023 school year, and Arcata High School is catching its groove; freshmen have stopped walking into the wrong class, the leaves are turning red, and the days are getting shorter, and people finally have an excuse to wear their sweaters. But, something sinister lays under this facade, a plot that intends to de- stabilize everything. It’s the battle, raging daily, between student and vehicle at the common intersection.

Traffic laws suggest that vehicles are to yield to pedestrians using crosswalks. However, the majority of the student body is seemingly unaware that they’re not always correct in assuming that they have the right of way.

Nola Bachemin, an Arcata High senior, recounted her own observations of student actions in the roadway surrounding the school.

“I don’t see them being used,” she said about crosswalks. “Kids are jaywalking, and just not looking where they’re going.”

It seems sometimes like most people aren’t doing their part on the road.

“Not just student drivers, but also parents go when it’s not their turn, or don’t know when to go and almost collide,” Bachemin said as she continued to discuss pedestrian and vehicle interaction.

The danger described by Bachemin seems to be felt differently amongst some of the underclassmen, however.

“Cars should definitely use intersections correctly, but people walking? Do whatever. I do whatever,” Rex Regan, an Arcata High sophomore, said.

The issue of pedestrian ignorance, reflected by some similar underclassmen’s feelings, is especially felt by stick-shift drivers.

“Having to downshift or put it all in neutral while everybody is running in front of your car is very frustrating because you don’t want to stall in the middle of the street just because kids aren’t crossing at the right time,” Hanalee Hayes, an AHS senior who has recently taken up driving a 6-speed jeep to school, said.

“It just comes down to students choosing to make the right decision and not endangering themselves. Let’s be for real, when you are exiting the parking lot, the people driving are just trying to put their music on and they aren’t fully paying attention. It’s scary,” Hayes said.

The administration appears to have similar concerns. AHS Principal Ron Perry cited safe driving practices as one of the biggest safety concerns at school.

The similarity between teacher and/ or student fears and identified issues brings into question: What measures are being put into place to encourage student safety?

A huge part of this issue is where people cross the street.

“I would like to separate as much as possible the crossing of 16th Street that leads directly out of our parking lot,” Perry said. “We are hoping that the common sense starts to resonate amongst students that crossing here, where everyone else is also driving out of the parking lot, is a bad idea.”

It comes down to whether students will take the time to care about the impact their actions have on others using the road.

As Bachemin said, “Come on, we’re all 14 or older, there’s no way we don’t know how to use a cross- walk.”

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About the Contributors
Owen Peterson
Owen Peterson, A&E Section Editor
Owen Peterson is a senior at Arcata High. As a Pepperbox writer, he will highlight and challenge the often commonly accepted happenings at both the campus and community asking the BIG questions: … “What is Frau B hiding in her elixir?” And... “Were joggers ever cute?”... He will also pose discussion of ecological efforts/ issues on campus, and will include different segments of student culture such as the car community. Owen has been a lifelong writer winning first place for his work submitted to the Redwood Writing Contest in 2019.
Ell Franklin, Feature Editor
Ell Franklin can drive a stick shift car (self-taught). She has read over 34 books in eight months and hates sports. Seriously, she doesn't think it is cool at all, stop it right now. She has all her baby teeth in a small wooden box and will show you if you ask her. She has been obsessed with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings ever since reading it when she was eleven. She thinks that minimalism and open-concept house plans are dumb. Nooks and crannies are the She thinks that Joan of Arc and her are spiritually connected (is delusional).
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