Provost addresses traffic safety concerns

Provost and Dean of the College Ron Cole spoke with Allegheny Student Government at its weekly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015. At the meeting, Cole asked ASG for suggestions on what the college could do to prevent another incident like the one that took the life of Allegheny student Hannah Morris, ’17, on the evening of Oct. 29, 2015 as she crossed North Main Street.

I’ve had emails from students, parents, colleagues, making suggestions and some of them are really good.

— Ron Cole

Cole said that since the accident, the college has been looking for ways to improve pedestrian safety on campus. He said he has received many suggestions on what can be done since the accident.

“I’ve had emails from students, parents, colleagues, making suggestions and some of them are really good,” Cole said.

According to Cole, the college has already begun looking into how to make crossing North Main Street and Park Avenue safer for pedestrians. He said part of this has been encouraging students to exercise greater caution while crossing the street, especially if they are wearing darker clothing, as Morris is believed to have been on the night of the accident.  

While encouraging students to be more careful when crossing streets is part of the college’s strategy, Cole said there are other measures being discussed.

“We are not just focusing on how to cross the street,” Cole said.

Several members of ASG brought their own suggestions on how to make crossing North Main Street safer. Senior Class President Jasmine Clark suggested speed bumps would encourage drivers to reduce speed while driving through campus.

“Stuff like that is key in getting drivers to slow down,” she said.

ASG Vice President Tess Bracken, ’17, brought up the idea of changing the speed limit on North Main Street, pointing out that most roads that run through schools have lower speed limits then the current 35 mph limit.

“Most schools are 15 and we do have a daycare on campus and they cross the street all the time,” Bracken said.

Jennifer Foreman, a visiting assistant professor of psychology, was also at the meeting. Foreman’s son was struck by a car on North Main Street in 2013. He survived the accident, but required extensive rehabilitation for two broken bones in his leg. She said the recovery process has been difficult.

“It’s been tough on our family rehabilitating both physically and psychologically,” Foreman said.

Following the accident, Foreman began a petition to change traffic regulations on North Main Street. The petition currently has approximately 740 signatures. Foreman said she hopes this number will reach 2,100, the average number of students typically enrolled at Allegheny. She said she feels this is a campus-wide safety issue.

Cole said the college has unsuccessfully requested a change to the speed limit on North Main Street several times.

ASG members also voiced their concerns about lighting on campus, including on North Main Street. Cole said the college is working to improve lighting, however many of the street lights on North Main Street are not owned by the College.

In addition to the lights on North Main Street, several ASG members told Cole there are several lights along college paths do not work. Cole said this is an issue the college wants to resolve and asked ASG and its constituents to put together a list of specific lights that are currently not functioning.   

“Having statements that lights are out doesn’t help because we don’t have specifics,” Cole said.

The issue of lighting on security call boxes was also brought to Cole’s attention at the meeting. A resolution is expected to be brought before ASG in the next few weeks that would call for greater lighting at call box locations on campus.