For many students at the University of California, Berkeley, walking from building to building is the best way to get around. The restrictions the university has placed on motor vehicles to make walking safer actually can make driving on campus a hassle.
This campus policy regarding vehicle access to campus has the specifically stated goal of protecting the thousands of students and others traveling on foot across the campus. Only those with special permission may take a vehicle into an area designated only for foot traffic. Vehicles that may gain access to campus include the following:
- Campus maintenance and service vehicles
- Public and commuter vehicles such as cars, shuttles, buses and vans
- Construction vehicles
- Emergency vehicles, which may include electric vehicles and golf carts
- Commercial vehicles
Barrier poles protect pedestrians in vehicle-restricted areas, but the university does grant access under some limited circumstances, in which case the driver may receive a key to remove the barrier. Therefore, students should not assume that the area will always be completely free of vehicle traffic.
Cyclists may ride on every roadway, path and courtyard on campus except in The Walk Zone, which is in effect between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in designated areas between buildings on campus. During this time, cyclists must walk their bicycles. This restriction also applies to skateboards, scooters and any other wheeled transport except those needed by students with disabilities.
During those times when bicycles and pedestrians may share pathways, the fact that cyclists may travel at five times the speed of those on foot can create serious hazards, particularly when the area is crowded. Add to that the dangers of distracted riding and walking, and pedestrians and cyclists may be at risk of collision. Safety experts recommend putting away electronic devices such as cellphones. Wearing headphones can also present a serious risk.
Pedestrians and cyclists should wear light-colored or reflective clothing and shoes any time they may be outside after dark to increase their visibility, especially in areas where they may encounter vehicles.