Drue Sokol, Photo Editor

This past summer, the Erie-Lackawanna Rails-to-Trails footbridge was opened to the public. The bridge connects the River Campus with the 19th Ward, Plymouth-Exchange Neighborhood and Corn Hill and provides an alternative route to campus for students living in the Riverview Apartments.
Problematically, however, the bridge remains unlit and UR Security does not have jurisdiction over the area, meaning they are unable to patrol the bridge at night or install blue light emergency phones there. As a result, students choosing to use the bridge at night are doing so at their own risk.
Security and many in the UR administration, to their credit, have emphasized the fact that the bridge is meant to be used during the day only — multiple emails have been sent out to remind students not to cross the bridge after dark. Although some believe that lighting on the bridge would increase its safety, Security maintains that lighting it could give students the impression that it is safe, when in reality, the security of the bridge would not be any better.
In order to both ensure the safety of students using the bridge at night and to curb usage after dark, as of Nov. 8, a Rochester Police Department (RPD) officer will now patrol the area from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday nights. The officer will also approach pedestrians and inform them of alternative means of transportation, such as Safe Ride Home and shuttle buses.  This is a commendable step in encouraging students to travel safely while also making sure that those students who do use the bridge are not in danger.
Additionally, two closed circuit televisions and a blue light phone will be installed at the entrance to the access ramp of the bridge on the River Campus in the next few weeks. Security remains in communication with the RPD and UR administration about new ideas that will help to promote safety on the Rails-to-Trails footbridge.
Despite UR’s lack of jurisdiction over the bridge, the steps taken by the University and Rochester police should be lauded for their efforts to keep UR students safe.

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