A city with an overpass for cows needs to do a better job getting KSU students from Goodnow Hall across Denison Avenue and to class.
There’s a traffic light at Denison Avenue and Claflin Road and two yellow warning signals in the next block south of the intersection that bring traffic to a standstill when classes change.
After a long wait, the last student in line enters the crosswalk and you say, “Finally.”
Then that single student stops in the middle of the crosswalk to send a text, break up with a boyfriend on the phone, or share a YouTube video with someone they’ve never seen before. Your lunch hour melts away and traffic backs up past the Veterinary Med School.
The logical solution would be a pedestrian tunnel or overpass but, given Manhattan’s prefer-ence for starting all road construction that will impact Kansas State the day before students move in, these logical alternatives must be rejected out of hand without addressing fiscal questions.
My modest alternative is simple, cost effective and could be accomplished with the loss of very few lives.
Let’s launch students across Denison with catapults, the favored weapon of besieging armies in the Middle Ages. This ought to match the needs of public safety and efficient traffic flow.
Six catapults would suffice — two each of light, medium, and heavy capacity. These would be placed on each side of Denison and aimed at giant air bladders like whoopie cushions with Powercat logos in their centers where well-aimed students would land. Perhaps someone could design the whoopie cushions to say “Go Cats” instead of making the usual rude noise.
Kansas State mechanical engineering alums could design fast loading buckets where students would sit, and surely hydraulics could be employed to quickly arm the catapults for throwing.
Of course, all of the math in the world could not predict pre-cisely where students would land, so a period of trial and error would be required to dial in the distances, like walking in artillery rounds on the enemy. These test students could be recruited from disciplinary and academic probation lists with promises of reinstatement — if they live.
This solution would be rev-enue neutral.
Rather than hiring additional staff, operating the catapults should be a team sport, a bit of friendly rivalry among dormitories and other living units. Points would be awarded for the number of students launched suc-cessfully across the street. Penalties would be issued or points deducted for students killed, maimed, or dis-figured by bad launches. The winning teams would be awarded living spaces on the other side of Denison.
Kansas State should patent and license this new game against the day when other schools faced with similar traffic problems need to buy equipment and license the procedures that Kansas State perfected.
Martin Puntney, a former newspaper editor, worked in the communications department of AIB International for 23 years. He lives at 2035 Rockhill Circle.