Students, staff collaborate on Walk-Only Zones to create safer campus community


August 28, 2013

As the late-morning sun grew more intense, Jared Siliverdis took a swig from the small hose that snaked to the water bladder positioned on his back.

It was his third shift as a Walk-Only Zones ambassador on the ASU Tempe campus. His bright yellow, Walk-Only Zones Ambassador t-shirt was damp from the swelter of the Arizona summer, but his demeanor was calm and cool. Download Full Image

“You’re only allowed to work outside for three hours, but the heat was pretty brutal my first day,” Siliverdis said. “I didn’t wear a hat, I didn’t put sunscreen on and I wore sunglasses.”

Battling sunburn effects, the junior business and economics major now donned a soft Panama Jack hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

“I don’t think it’s too bad, I have my water supply right here and it’s pretty easy,” he said. 

His confidence to handle the extreme elements extends to his ability to educate pedestrians about the Walk-Only Zones, which are in effect Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

“I only had like two out of 30 people who really didn’t comply,” he said.

Siliverdis’ decision to become a Walk-Only Zones ambassador stems in part from wanting to make campus areas safer for pedestrians, and also from his own personal experiences. 

“I’ve been on campus and I’ve been run over by bikes, skateboards, and I’ve also seen other people get run over by bikes and skateboards, so I thought the [Walk-Only Zones] concept was good, the money was good and so that’s why I decided to become an ambassador,” he said.

Fellow Walk-Only Zones ambassador and junior accounting major, Gustavo Macgrew, shares Siliveridis’ sentiments. Engaging with campus travelers and promoting pedestrian safety also were deciding factors for him to apply for an ambassador position. 

“You get to communicate with fellow students and educate the public about a very important project for ASU,” Macgrew said. “I really want to help my fellow Sun Devils to prevent bikes from running into them and to have a safer environment.”

In an effort to enhance pedestrian safety and to ease vehicle congestion in heavy foot-traffic areas on the Tempe campus, ASU created Walk-Only Zones. The initial zone covers Hayden Lawn and extends east and south past the Memorial Union. Zone, cart and vehicle path maps, along with a feedback form, can be accessed on the walk.asu.edu website.

With tens of thousands of campus travelers traversing the Tempe campus on a regular basis, stopping the swarms of students and staff to educate them about Walk-Only Zones could be challenging for the ambassadors who stand post at zone entrances.

“It’s going to take some time for people to get used to it,” Macgrew said. 

Campus collaborators

The research conducted about Walk-Only Zones – before their Aug. 1 establishment – also took some time. The Office of the University Architect collaborated with ASU Student Government on a three-year study that, in part, analyzed pedestrian foot traffic on the Tempe campus.

“The Walk-Only Zones are a part of the larger, university access-management plan that our office is working on,” said Ed Soltero, ASU university architect. “We plan to launch subsequent zones in succession; our hope is to learn from the effects and successes of the initial zone, and make necessary adjustments as we proceed with future zone installments.”

When asked about the establishment of bike paths to help bicyclists travel around the Tempe campus, Soltero explained that in the built-up, urban campus, bike paths would not be optimal.

“Our research found that the ratio of pedestrians to bicyclists on the Tempe campus is 75 percent pedestrians to 15 percent bicyclists,” Soltero said.

Soltero added that in the campus layout, there are too many crosscutting intersections where bicyclists would need to yield to pedestrians; bike paths are more effective when there are longer distances of uninterrupted travel.

“Moreover, based on actual bicycle counts at peak times, the available width of the malls slated for pedestrian-only use would be filled to capacity allowing only this mode of transportation,” he said.

Soltero also noted additional elements being added to the current Tempe campus infrastructure that are rolling out with the launch of the Walk-Only Zones, such as: new bicycle rack types, locations and card-access-only storage; bicycle valet areas; daytime-only golf cart parking areas; and locked skateboard racks.

Additional Walk-Only Zones collaborators include current ASU Student Body President Jordan Davis, who is featured in a short instructional video on the walk.asu.edu website and the Disability Resource Center (DRC).

A DRC employee since August 1981, Jim Morin’s current role is the Disability Access and Resource Transportation (DART) program supervisor. According to Morin, DART services provide a means for qualified students, staff and faculty to get to and from their classes, and carts operate on a scheduled, shared-ride basis.

“DART participants must have a medically documented temporary or permanent mobility disability that limits their ability to walk prescribed distances,” Morin said.

Since the DRC is located in Matthews Hall at the northern edge of the initial Walk-Only Zone, DART carts carrying passengers could require occasional zone access during the wheeled-restriction times.

“It was determined that in order for our vehicles to be easily identified when operating within the [Walk-Only Zones] it would be necessary to ‘re-brand’ the service,” Morin said.

Morin worked with Elaine Rettger, a graphic designer in ASU Business and Finance, who designed a “wrap” for the DRC’s seven-cart fleet. The design brands the carts in ASU colors and has “DART” emblazoned on the sides.

“The re-branding of the service is the key for our driver’s ability to maintain the level of service we offer without contributing to the problem,” Morin said. “We ask the ASU community to understand that in order to maintain our charter, we will have to occasionally mix in with the pedestrian flow.”

Note: The Walk-Only Zones are not intended to limit or redirect use of mobility devices by individuals with disabilities. Access more Walk-Only Zones details and a feedback form at walk.asu.edu.

Wendy Craft

Marketing and communications manager, Business and Finance Communications Group

480-965-6695

ASU welcomes 5 new American Indian Scholars to faculty


August 28, 2013

Five American Indian scholars in the fields of law, social transformation, American Indian studies, and social and family dynamics have joined the faculty of Arizona State University.

ASU President Michael M. Crow called these appointments further examples of the university’s commitment to diversity and access, and ASU’s recognition of its place and social responsibilities. Robert Miller Download Full Image

“As I said in my inaugural speech eleven years ago, Arizona State University will gather and empower a large cohort of scholars focused on American Indian culture and social and economic issues,” Crow said. “The presence of a critical mass of scholars encourages constructive dialogue and the evolution of a given sphere of inquiry. It is all the more essential in a developing field such as American Indian Studies.

“We will encourage scholars from a spectrum of disciplines to offer different perspectives. Teaching and research related to American Indian culture has been underway at Arizona State University for decades, but the American Indian Initiative is proving transformational in the development of the field and confirms the university’s commitment to programs that are socially relevant.”

Appointed to the ASU faculty are:

Professor Robert J. Miller joins the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law from the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore.  Miller, an Eastern Shawnee tribal citizen, will teach civil procedure, Indian law classes and a new class focusing on economic development for tribal nations and Indian peoples. He has taught and practiced American Indian law since 1993 and was a part-time tribal judge for Pacific Northwest tribes and the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals for the Grand Ronde Tribe. He has written dozens of articles, books, editorials and book chapters on Indian law issues, and has spoken at federal, state and private conferences in more than 31 states and in England, Canada, Australia and India. 

Professor K. Tsianina Lomawaima joins the School of Social Transformation from the University of Arizona. Her teaching interests include U.S. Indian policy history, indigenous knowledge systems and research issues in American Indian education. She has earned numerous awards for her books and teaching, including an outstanding book award from the American Educational Research Association for the book, “To Remain an Indian.” Her research interests include the status of Native people as U.S. citizens and Native nations as indigenous sovereigns, the role of Native nations in forging and fracturing U.S. federalism and the history of American Indian education. Lomawaima, of Mvskoke descent, earned her doctoral degree from Stanford University in anthropology.

Tennille L. Marley, an American Indian Studies assistant professor, will teach Introduction to American Indian Studies. Her areas of expertise include American Indian health and health policy, sociology of health, sociology of American Indians and qualitative research methods. Marley, a member of the White Mountain Apache tribe, earned her doctorate in sociology from the University of New Mexico and has worked as a research program coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health in Albuquerque, N.M. and Chinle, Ariz., and as a research assistant for many health projects focusing on Native Americans.

Michelle Hale joins the American Indian Studies program as an assistant professor and will teach Tribal Governance, Federal Indian Policy and Introduction to American Indian Studies. Her expertise is in tribal governance and leadership, public policy, economic development and the Navajo government. As a post-doctoral fellow at ASU, she taught Tribal Governance and Introduction to American Indian Studies courses after earning her doctoral degree in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. In 2008, Hale established a community leadership program for indigenous youth at the Cook Leadership School in Tempe. She is Laguna, Ojibwe, Odawa and a citizen of the Navajo Nation.

Monica Tsethlikai, assistant professor, joins the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics from the University of Utah. She will teach statistics and courses on child development. Her research has explored cultural and contextual factors that affect executive function development and memory processes in middle childhood and early adolescence with a primary goal of understanding how to promote positive developmental outcomes for all children. Her work includes mainstream children, with an emphasis on American Indian child development. She earned her doctoral degree in cognitive psychology from the University of Kansas and is an enrolled member of the Zuni people of New Mexico.

“These new faculty,” said Executive Vice President and University Provost Elizabeth D. Phillips, “become part of a cohort of scholars who have already positioned ASU as a leading academic institution in matters related to American Indian culture and its implication in the context of the broader American culture. They will continue to expand our scholarly expertise in critical intellectual areas, as well as provide our students with a vast array of knowledge and experience.”

They join such notables as:

• Rebecca Tsosie, ASU Regents’ Professor, the Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar in ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, former executive director of the Indian Legal Program and the author of more than 40 law review articles and book chapters.

• Professor John Tippeconnic, director of the American Indian Studies program, who is recognized as one of the most “influential people in American Indian/Alaska Native education.”

• Simon Ortiz, ASU Regents’ Professor of English and American Indian Studies, who has been recognized internationally for his poetry.

• Eddie Brown, American Indian Studies professor and executive director of the American Indian Policy Institute, who has worked at the highest administrative levels with federal, state and tribal governments.

• James Riding In, American Indian sSudies professor and editor of the Wicazo Sa Review Journal.

• Bryan Brayboy, Borderlands Professor of Indigenous Education and Justice, from the School of Social Transformation.

• Donald Fixico, Distinguished Foundation Professor of History and author of 12 books focusing in American Indians, oral history and the U.S. West.

“Our newest faculty members have the expertise to further expand ASU’s course offerings in the areas of indigenous and American Indian policy. Their contributions and experiences will benefit our ASU students and programs immensely,” said Diane Humetewa, special advisor to the president for American Indian affairs..