The summer-long, four million dollar renovation of White Plaza has had an unintended consequence: reports of pedestrians stubbing toes have increased almost 600% since the unveiling of the new campus center.
The White Plaza renovation project, which was implemented to try to “clarify and improve circulation, reduce asphalt, consolidate small pieces of unusable lawns and landscape, and generally upgrade the appearance of the outdoor spaces” (The Stanford Daily), limited biking to one side of the plaza, added a stage outside of Dinkelspiel Auditorium, and lined the open space with rows of cement blocks.
Rob Morris, administrative associate at the University Architect & Planning Office, defended the changes, particularly the addition of the cement blocks. “They really define the WWI trench warfare style that’s all the rage these days,” he said. “Plus, it’s helpful for students that are studying Leninist
Russia, serving as a reminder that they probably have a paper due.”
While these blocks were designed to slow bikers and increase dangerous blind spots, the increase in stubbed toes is “an added bonus,” claims Harriet Burgdorff, lead planner of the project.
“At first, we thought the concrete blocks would only make life a living hell for bikers,” Burgdorff said. “Luckily for us, we are also able to cause spurious and aggravating injury to pedestrians as well.”
Others seem to also be benefiting from this sudden rise in accidental self-inflicted injury occurring in the plaza.
“Tripping over yourself is no longer just for those with pocket protectors,” an unnamed member of the Computer Science department said in an e-mail statement.
The Stanford Police also reported an increase in activity, as the increase in painful calls of “fuck,” “shit,” and “fuck-shit-balls-cock” from recent toe-stubbing victims has allowed the police to issue citations for “disturbing the peace” and “intimidating all the little kids who are on campus and are more important than students, faculty, and staff.” An unnamed officer added, “They’re so cute!”
Restrictions to allow free speech, particularly in the “free-speech zone” that designates all of White Plaza, did not seem to deter the officers.
“Come on,” an officer pleaded. “This place is boring. I got tired of pulling over kids without bike lights, so at least let me take away their free speech rights. Plus, I’m pretty fair about it: the guy who yelled ‘fuck-shit-balls-cock’ had such an interesting compilation of expletives that I let him slide.”
Unfortunately, the entire rise in toe-stubbing injuries is suspect in the first place, as the original information came from sources associated with Vaden Health Center, thus nullifying any legitimacy they carried.