Five years ago, this community considered whether there should be changes at the intersection of Main and Whiton, where there was then a stone gateway to the university.
One now sees that the gateway is being moved back from near Main, farther up the hill from the street. Moving the gateway assures greater visibility nearer the road.
It’s good that it’s being done; it should have been done years ago.
Now people are naturally proud of commemorative walls, and sentimental over them. That’s understandable. I was once at university, and there are spots on my campus that I will always recall fondly.
And yet, and yet, I and my friends – it is to be hoped – would not place a sentimental attachment to a wall over a practical concern for the human condition.
That’s why, five years ago, I wrote that it would be better to tear down the wall, adding a proper traffic signal if needed, and leaving only a small, unobtrusive sign nearby:
THIS SIGNAL IS A MONUMENT OF OUR DEDICATION TO PUBLIC SAFETY
CONCERN FOR OUR FELLOW CITIZENS IS OUR FINEST ART
RESPECT FOR THEIR BASIC WELL-BEING IS OUR MOST ADMIRABLE DESIGN
It’s better still, of course, if the wall can be moved and safety still be equally improved.
University life should amount to more than decorative objects, more than sentiment, more than stone and mortar.
If that’s not been clear to a few, those who argued against changes to the gateway wall years ago, then they’ve been at university in vain: the experience has been wasted on them.