Over the twenty-five years or so that I have been affiliated with Penn the traffic patterns around the campus have been dangerous for pedestrians, dangerous for motorists, and dangerous for bicyclists. For twenty-five years, Penn has been "working on it." It is time to stop the stalling and fix the problem. Bicycle lanes have been touted as the solution, but that is because the latest two tragedies have involved bicycles. While I support the creation of such lanes, they are but one small part of the problem, and will do little for the pedestrians who take their lives into their hands every time they cross a campus street.
Penn should immediately form a commission of faculty, staff and students to make recommendations on this issue. There are faculty members who have expertise in this area, as well as community residents in Powelton Village and elsewhere who work with PennDOT and other agencies (perhaps this is another area where the university can show its commitment to increasing interaction with the community).
Whether or not such a commission is ever formed, a number of recommendations should be considered by the University:
1. Dedicated walk and don't walk signs should be on every busy street corner. The most dangerous corners are the ones along Walnut from 33rd through 38th, and where Spruce intersects with 33rd, 34th, and 38th. There should also be a dedicated walk sign and a full traffic light on 34th Street between Spruce and Walnut, where there is now a crosswalk and a flashing yellow light. By dedicated walk/don't walk signs, I mean that when the walk signs are lit, no traffic is allowed to move at all. None. No turning, no parallel travel. I think it is a disgrace that, despite twenty-five years of "working on it," we still don't have walk and don't walk signs on our streets.
2. Put in turn arrows at select corners. Why is there no left turn arrow traveling south on 38th Street at Spruce? I have seen cars inching out again and again through groups of pedestrians, trying to beat the line of traffic that makes it impossible to take a left turn during rush hour (and most of the rest of the day as well). The same on 36th and Walnut, where cars trying to take a right onto Walnut must compete with pedestrians crossing to get to the bookstore. There should be a right turn arrow for cars traveling south on 36th, accompanied by a "don't walk" sign for pedestrians, followed by a dedicated "walk" sign for people crossing to the bookstore. I cannot comprehend why these corners have not been made safer despite decades of problems.
3. I applaud the University's crackdown on speeders on Walnut street. The way people race down that stretch we might as well have grandstands and pit crews. The speed limit for Walnut Street traffic through campus should be a maximum of 25 miles per hour, with lights timed to assure that speed. While I understand that Walnut Street is a state highway and that PennDOT is notoriously reluctant to control traffic electronically, the clout of the University should be able to overcome PennDOT's reluctance. I am sorry if that ties up city traffic, but it is about time that the city and the university show that they are serious about this issue.
There are other options as well. For example, bridges or tunnels can remove street traffic, just as the 38th Street bridge does so effectively. Did anyone consider a bridge from Annenberg to the new bookstore or the Inn at Penn as past of the new construction?
I am at a loss to understand why at least some of these measures haven't been taken sooner. If Penn is serious about pedestrian safety, these measures seem a minimum step to start bringing traffic on campus under control.
--Paul Root Wolpe, Departments of Psychiatry and Sociology; Center for Bioethics
Ed. Note: A response to Dr. Wolpe's letter is expected for next week's issue.
The following letter was sent to the President and to Almanac for publication.
Dear President Rodin,
Recently I received an invitation to a Uni-versity function on a 6" x 9" stationery which bore at the top the seal of the University in color, and under it the legend University of Pennsylvania. It is very attractive on first glance.
But a second look reveals that the seal bears at the lower right the indication , and the name of the University the indication ®.
What a sad day when fear of infringement of its registered trademark or name moves any university to stoop publicly to such an undignified and crass commercial measure.
Since we at Penn all sail under this flag, I am taking the liberty of sending a copy of this to Almanac for publication.
--Cecil L. Striker, Professor of History of Art
In reply to the letter by Professor Striker regarding Penn stationery, we would like to address his concerns about our trademarking practices. While he views registration of our official logo and names as an "undignified and crass commercial measure," there are specific and sound legal and practical reasons why we take such measures.
Over the last several years, Penn has assertively registered the name "University of Pennsylvania" and a series of logos and graphics. It is common to find these registered trademarks on consumer products, including stationery. These registered marks can prevent piracy, convey authenticity, and above all, protect Penn's image. As the marks are strongly associated with our institution, any potential dilution could result in a loss of the public's positive perception of the institution. Moreover, it is imperative that products with the Penn name or trademarks be high in quality, color, and other attributes. The registration mark on Penn goods assures the buyer of the high quality that is expected of the University.
We normally would not need to trademark the words "University of Pennsylvania" on a stand-alone basis. However, since the University's name and the logo were paired on the invitation, the same legal principles addressed above also apply in this case. Placing a registration symbol (the symbol) next to the University of Pennsylvania name and the Penn shield is a basic part of a sound and proper trademark program. Indeed, the combination strengthens the connection between the graphic and our name.
We will be continuously sensitive to the products and venues where our trademarks are placed, and look for the right opportunities to promote all of the best that Penn has to offer.
--Leroy D. Nunery, Vice President, Business Services, and
--Louis Berneman, Managing Director, Center for Technology Transfer
At the end of his Speaking Out letter published October 19, Dr. James Gee was identified as a research assistant professor of neurology. This came from Almanac's using the title given in the 1998-99 Phone Book of the University, but since its publication Dr. Gee has become Assistant Professor of Radiologic Science in the Department of Radiology.--Eds.
Speaking Out welcomes reader contributions. Short, timely letters on University issues can be accepted by Thursday at noon for the following Tuesday's issue, subject to right-of-reply guidelines. Advance notice of intention to submit is appreciated.--Eds.
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 10, November 2, 1999