Repeal and Replace: Tilton Lane

Dear Fellow Students,

Tilton Lane needs to go. The paved area between Hodgdon, Lewis, Tilton, Bush and Haskell Halls is a disaster waiting to happen. The constant flow of traffic swirling through tight spaces and around multiple blind corners presents a clear and present danger to the unobserving students checking Instagram or changing the music in their AirPods. There is a solution: let’s repeal and replace Tilton Lane.

As I returned to Lewis this Friday after the Career Fair and entered Tilton Lane, a large yellow Penske truck moved about awkwardly and honked its horn as several students wandered past, oblivious to the recklessness of the driver. I’m not sure if the truck had any business being there, but the driver took it rear-first into the mud in front of Crafts Center. By the time TUPD arrived, the wheels had spun deep ruts into the Lewis Courtyard lawn. I watched from my window as the truck was laboriously towed away. The lawn is still a mess.

This is an extreme example, but other vehicular errors are common. Uber drivers constantly try to pull a full circle around the rain garden in front of Lewis only to get stuck, and turn around. Students drive too quickly down the narrow — and short — street. A semi-truck once fully blocked the entrance of Lewis for nearly half an hour. I believe we should close Tilton Lane to all but vital traffic. The cost would be negligible, and substantial risk and inconvenience would be eliminated.

As smart as we claim to be here at Tufts, I’ve got to say: I see too many people crossing streets with their noses in their phones. Though I’d like to believe otherwise, I don’t think we’ll reverse this trend with any alacrity. Nevertheless, as a community, we have to protect our members, and mitigating the risk of vehicle-pedestrian accidents is easy — like installing the flashing stop signs on Professor’s Row. Restricting access to Tilton Lane would fulfill this goal and would have a substantial and immediate secondary effect on the downhill residential community. In addition to eliminating the risk of accidents with too-large trucks and overzealous Uber drivers, noise would be reduced, and the mutilated, rutted grass could regrow. The Lewis courtyard has been victimized by tire tracks, and the walls of the courtyard act together to amplify sound when machinery and vehicles operate in the are — which is often.

Some vehicles will need continued access to Tilton Lane, including the TUPD and maintenance. Other vehicles need not enter, and the dumpsters can be moved to reroute garbage pick-up. Making the whole area more pedestrian-friendly will go a long way to improving the downhill part of our community. We should repeal Tilton Lane and replace it with a rational solution: Tilton Promenade.