CSUB students experience traffic issues following their return to campus

Jaylene Collins, News Reporter

California State University, Bakersfield students are back on campus for the fall 2022 semester meaning the traffic is back, too. 

Student signals car to stop while walking across the crosswalk on Kroll Way Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. Photo by Alea Gaona.

CSUB is located around busy streets, such as Stockdale Highway, so there are frequent traffic issues. Students commuting to school is nothing new. However, Martin Williamson, CSUB’s Chief of Police, said this semester differs from those prior to COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think the challenge is that we haven’t had people on campus for the last two years,” Williamson said. “So, instead of just having your freshman driving on campus for the first time, we now have freshman, sophomores, and maybe even some juniors that have never come to campus.”  

To ensure traffic safety around campus, Williamson offered his advice.  

Williamson said students should have the university police phone number, (661) 654-2111, saved in case of an emergency around CSUB. So, if a student found themselves on the road with an unsafe driver around CSUB, the student can call the university police right away, instead of 911.  

Additionally, if a student sees a suspicious driver around CSUB, Williamson said to stay locked in the car and call the university police. Even if the student is unsure, Williamson said to call.  

“I would rather run on hundreds and hundreds of dry runs than have someone say, ‘I don’t want to bother the police department because that guy looks suspicious,’” Williamson said. “I’d rather you call us and let us go figure it out than someone taking a chance.” 

While driving to or from CSUB, Williamson said his most important piece of advice is to pay attention. He said the biggest problem he often finds is students on their phones, talking, or texting while driving.  

“We really have to try to break that because of the accidents and the fatality rate for individuals, roughly the age of our CSUB students, are very high,” Williamson stated. “And it’s all– a lot of it is contributed to distracted driving.” 

Paying attention while driving is important, especially around CSUB, because Williamson said there are a lot of pedestrians on foot, bikes, and skateboards.  

“It’s not going to take much of a distraction and somebody to step out in front of you or a bike to pull out in front of you– and we’re going to have ourselves another accident,” Williamson said.  

If a student finds themselves needing to send a text or make a phone call while driving, Williamson said to pull over safely before going on the phone.  

Another piece of advice Williamson offered is to get to school early. Accidents often happen when students are in a hurry, so he said students should try to get to school 20 or 30 minutes early. 

Students that drive themselves to school agree with Williamson’s advice.  

Alexza Hernandez, a human biology major at CSUB, drives herself to school. To ensure her safety while driving, Hernandez said she always pays close attention and makes sure her blinkers are on whenever needed.  

The advice she shared for other student drivers on campus is to come to school 30 minutes early to find parking 

Jorge Pompa, a computer science major at CSUB, commutes to school from Porterville every day.  

Like Hernandez, Pompa said he makes sure he is aware of his surroundings while driving. As the driver, he makes sure he is more aware to prevent a collision, especially with pedestrians.

Pompa also suggested students arrive at school early to find parking.  

“It’s better to be here 30 minutes earlier to an hour than you being late before your class and you practically almost crashing because you can’t find parking, and you’re just nervous or, like, antsy and anxious to get to class,” Pompa said.